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Title: Life and Times of Her Majesty Caroline Matilda, Vol. I (of III) - Queen of Denmark and Norway
Author: Wraxall, C. F. Lachelles
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    VOL. I.


    [_All Rights reserved._]






If there be a story which may be supposed to be thoroughly familiar to
the reading public, it is surely that of the Queen of Denmark, who is
believed to have loved not wisely but too well. The fate of Struensee
has supplied the motive for countless works more or less historical, for
novels, and even for an opera. Hence it might reasonably be assumed that
the man who ventured on intruding on the English public another work
on such a thoroughly worn-out topic, must be either very impudent or
very foolish; and yet I have ventured to do so through neither of these
failings, but for reasons which have been duly weighed, and which appear
to my mind to convey their justification.

The first of these motives is, that within a very recent period a
perfectly new light has been thrown on the whole affair, by permission
being granted to examine the privy archives of Copenhagen. From these
I have been enabled to derive the hitherto unpublished documents and
reports of the judges, and thus prove on what worthless evidence the
divorce of the queen was passed. At the same time, a great deal of fresh
matter has been rendered available about the two unhappy men who fell
victims to a mistaken sense of justice.

The late King of Denmark, who wisely thought that publicity was the best
safeguard of thrones, also allowed the "Mémoires de mon Temps" of the
Landgrave Charles of Hesse Cassel, brother-in-law of Christian VII., to
be printed for private circulation. I have been enabled to procure a
copy of this work through the kindness of Baron von JENSSEN TUSCH, who
obtained it from the Prince of Augustenburg; and the many curious details
of the Court of Denmark it contains have been woven largely into my
text. Another work which has afforded me very material assistance is the
"Memoirs of Reverdil, Secretary to Christian VII.," which appeared two or
three years ago, but is little known in this country.

Lastly, the private journals of Sir N. W. Wraxall have been laid under
contribution to a great extent. It was made known by the publication of
the "Post-humous Memoirs" that he had been connected with the Queen of
Denmark, but it was only during last year that I discovered how much
my grandfather knew of the affair, and how well he had kept silence on
the subject. I have ransacked his journals, correspondence, &c., in the
interests of the present work, and these have enabled me, I hope, to
bring together much not hitherto known, or, if known, forgotten.

As a humble follower of Lord Macaulay, I have also recognised the value
of pamphlets and chap-books, and have been able to obtain, with some cost
and trouble, nearly everything published on the palace revolution during
1772 and 1773, in Germany, Denmark, and England. I have also considered
it my duty to consult every work at all connected with the subject, and
do not think that any one has been omitted.

Whether it has been in my power to prove the innocence of the Queen of
Denmark is a question for my readers to decide. I, however, take some
credit to myself for publishing for the first time the letter which she
wrote on her death-bed to her brother. This letter passed through the
hands of the late King of Hanover to the Duchess of Augustenburg, from
whom my copy is derived.

Lastly, I have to return my hearty thanks to the many kind friends, at
home and abroad, who have aided me in my researches, or directed me where
to make them. I should be most ungrateful if I did not single out MR.
EMANUEL DEUTSCH, of the British Museum, who examined the MSS. department
thoroughly on my behalf, even though he drew a blank. The same, I regret
to say, proved the case at the State Paper Office, while the Foreign
Office, where there was a prospect of a successful find in the despatches
of Messieurs Gunning and Keith, remained hermetically closed to me. It
was some compensation for this refusal to find SIR AUGUSTUS PAGET, our
envoy at Copenhagen, at all times ready to assist me, and even to procure
me scarce books from the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is but
fair to add, that all the officials of our Foreign Office to whom I
applied in turn for admission to their archives, deplored their inability
to break through a rule which, for the interests of honest literary
research, would be far more honoured in the breach than in the observance.






    Death of the Prince of Wales--His Character--His Epitaph--The
    Eighteenth Century--Birth of Caroline Matilda--Lord
    Bute--Melcombe's Diary--The Great No-Popery Cry--Character
    of George III.--Majority of the Prince of Wales--Court
    Cabals--Miss Chudleigh--Horace, Prince of Scandalia                1



    The Youth of Caroline Matilda--Memoirs of an Unfortunate
    Queen--Education of the Princess--Specimens of her
    Correspondence--Proposal of Marriage--Caroline Matilda's
    Feelings--The Royal Assent--Death of the King of Denmark--Public
    Opinion--The Marriage Portion--The Marriage--Farewell to
    England--Landing in Denmark--Enthusiastic Reception               33



    Birth of Christian VII.--Death of his Mother--Juliana Maria--The
    Chronique Scandaleuse--A Severe Task-Master--The
    Prince's Education--Reverdil--Curious Delusions--The
    King's Illness and Death--Accession of Christian--Court
    Intrigues--The Triumvirate--Royal Marriages                       50



    The Meeting at Roeskilde--Entrance into Copenhagen--The
    Queen's Household--The Royal Family--Court Amusements--Travelling
    Impressions--The Coronation--The First Quarrel--The
    King goes to Holstein--Death of the Duke of York--Milady--Reverdil
    leaves the Court--The New Favourite--Strange
    Conduct of the King                                               83



    Birth of the Crown Prince--Behaviour of the King--Removal of
    Milady--Enevold Brandt--Dismissal of the Grande Maîtresse--Baron
    Schimmelmann--Brandt's Attack on Holck--His
    Banishment--The King's Journey--The Holstein-Gottorp
    Exchange--Struensee appointed Physician--Arrival in England      108



    George III.--The Journey to Town--The Stable Yard--Horace
    Walpole--The First Meeting of the Kings--The Princess of
    Wales--Festivities--Christian made a D.C.L.--The City
    Banquet--The Bill of Fare--The Ball in the Haymarket--Christian
    takes Leave--Anecdotes                                           134



    Caroline Matilda at Home--Court Intrigues--France under
    Louis XV.--Manners of the Eighteenth Century--The Dubarry--French
    Ladies--Casanova--Louis XV. and Christian--Festivities--Poetical
    Flummery--Christian's Private
    Amusements--The Homeward Journey--Return to Copenhagen           159



    The Interim Ministry--State of the Nation--The King's Health--The
    Duke of Gloucester--Struensee--His Education and
    Career--His Friends--Schack zu Rantzau--The Travelling
    Surgeon--The Court Doctor--The Parties at Court--Plans of
    Caroline Matilda                                                 188



    The Queen's Illness--The New Doctor--The Favourite--Court
    Revels--The Small-Pox--The Queen's Friend--A Trip to
    Holstein--Recall of Brandt--Sad Scenes at Court--Downfall
    Holck--Rantzau-Ascheberg--The Foreign Envoys--Presentation
    of Colours                                                       215



    The Princess of Wales--Mother and Daughter--George III.--The
    Cabal--The War with Algiers--The Palace of Hirschholm--Fall
    of the Premier--Proposed Reforms--Struensee's
    Maxims--The Council of State--The Royal Hunt--A Lovely
    Woman--Brandt's Folly                                            246



    Education of the Crown Prince--Frederick VI.--Condition of
    the King--A Royal Squabble--The Swedish Princes--The
    Foundling Hospital--Count von der Osten--The Empress
    Catharine--Suppression of the Privy Council--The Grand
    Vizier--The Council of Conferences--The Free Press               286



    Establishment of the Lottery--The King's Birthday--The Order
    of Matilda--Von Falckenskjold--The Russian Quarrel--The
    Civic Council--Court Retrenchment--The College of
    Finances--Rosenborg Gardens--The Gardes du Corps--Struensee's
    Pusillanimity--Negociations with Russia--Rumours of War          311



    Birth of a Princess--The Cabinet Minister--The Lex Regia--General
    Dissatisfaction--The New Counts--Struensee's Coat
    of Arms--Foreign Affairs--A Favourite has no Friends--The
    German Grievance--A Dangerous Foe--Ingratitude of Brandt--Return
    of Reverdil--Arrival at Court--Homicidal Mania--The
    King of Prussia--Habits of the Court--The Prince
    Royal                                                            342







On a March evening, in 1751, the beau monde of London was gently agitated
by the news that Frederick, Prince of Wales, had just expired, at his
house in Leicester Fields. He died somewhat suddenly, and in the arms of
one Desnoyers, a French dancing master, who, having been called in to
soothe the prince's mind by playing the fiddle at his bedside, had the
honour of holding him in his arms during the final struggle. Orpheus,
we read, could charm savage beasts by the sound of his lyre; but the
violin, however eloquently played, had no authority over tyrant Death.
The prince had received a blow in the side from a cricket-ball some
months previously, while playing at that game on the lawn of Cliefden
House. This had formed an internal abscess, which eventually burst, and
the discharge suffocated him.[1]

The prince's death created no great sensation. It is notorious that he
had long been on bad terms with his royal father; but that is too common
a thing in German regnant houses to deserve comment: in such, the rule
_divide et impera_ is carried out logically; that is to say, the father
tyrannises, and commands his son to join the Opposition, in order, in any
event, to keep the power in the family, should the over-taut bow-string

Frederick, Prince of Wales, at an early age was instructed in the
noble art of hunting with the dogs and howling with the wolves; and
the historical searcher comes across amusing instances of his pseudo
liberalism. One of the most remarkable, was his reply to the City
addresses on the birth of his eldest son, when he had the audacity to
say--doubtless, with his tongue in his cheek--"My son, I hope, may come
in time to deserve the gratitude of a free people; and it shall be my
constant care to instruct him that true loyalty can only be the result
of liberty." I really cannot feel surprised at his father detesting the
hypocrite so thoroughly.

The fulness of pride which made George III. declare, in his first speech
after ascending the throne, that, "born and educated in this country, I
glory in the name of Briton,"[2] had been fostered by his father from a
very early age. A curious instance of this will be found in the following
extract from a prologue to _Cato_, which was put in the lad's mouth on
January 4, 1749, in a representation of that play by the royal family at
Leicester House. After making a tremendous panegyric on liberty, the boy
goes on to say--

    "Should this superior to my years be thought,
    Know--'tis the first great lesson I was taught.
    What! tho' a boy! it may with pride be said:
    A boy,--in England born,--in England bred;
    Where freedom well becomes the earliest state;
    For there the laws of liberty innate," &c. &c.

It may fairly be assumed that this boast was produced with such
reiteration less through a feeling of sincerity than a desire of
instituting odorous comparisons with the lad's grandpapa, who did not
enjoy the honour of being born a Briton. George II., who with all his
faults was no hypocrite, saw through this amiable purpose, and detested
his son the more.

Besides, George II., though a worthy little man in some respects, was
not remarkable for amiability of temper; and though he professed to
be devotedly attached to his wife--after her death--his affection
during her life was considerably suggested by that unconscious dread
which a stupid husband has of a wife who is not only clever herself,
but competent to gauge her husband's stupidity.[3] Still, with all his
grievances against his son--and they were, doubtless, many--he ought
to have studied proprieties a little more, when he heard of Prince
Frederick's death; and that horrid "Fritz ist todt," whispered in the ear
of the Countess of Yarmouth, displays an unforgiving spirit, hardly to be
reconciled with the generally generous temper of George II.; for, like
most peppery men, he was good natured.[4]

I have waded through all the authorities who have left us any account of
the prince, and the conclusion arrived at is only a negative one. Lord
Melcombe may be put out of court at once, for he evidently wrote under
the influence of that feeling of gratitude which has been defined as
a lively sense of favours to come. Having been bubbled by the father,
he did not intend to spoil his game with the son,--especially as that
son was the future fountain of all honours. But Frederick owed a great
many of his bad qualities to this Bubb Dodington, who in more than one
respect resembled the sillabub to which my Lord Chesterfield compared
him; for he was sweet, cloying, and left a very unpleasant taste in
the mouth. Surrounded by flatterers and sycophants, Frederick had just
sufficient sense to see that he was being made a tool of; and he learned
the art himself to perfection. It has been urged in his favour, that he
patronised literature and art; but if he obtained any credit on that
account, it was on the same principle as makes a one-eyed man a king
among the blind. He condescended to visit POPE at Twickenham; and, in
return, the poet immortalised him, by the delicate allusion conveyed in
the two lines--

    "And if yet higher the proud list should end,
    Still, let me add, no follower but a friend."

But, granted this merit, the remaining qualities that make up the
character of Frederick are of the most negative type. He was a
spendthrift: he borrowed money unblushingly, careless as to where he
obtained it, and with the very faintest expectation of repaying it.
Though a father of seven children, he lived in open adultery with a
lady, whose house in Pall Mall had a secret communication with Carlton
House. He was pretty frequently in the habit of paying visits to
fortune-tellers; and would go in disguise to see the bull-baiting at
Hockley-in-the-Hole. Such is the residuum, when we take away the prestige
of princely birth. Nor, had Frederick the good fortune to excite a hearty
detestation, except in the case of his father: the people, generally,
treated his death with the most profound contempt. Two men were heard
talking of his decease in Leicester Fields:--"He has left a great many
small children." "Ay," replied the other; "and, what is worse, they
belong to our parish."[5] We may safely say of him, in the courtly
language of Sir W. Wraxall: "As far as we are authorised, from these
premisses, to form a conclusion, his premature death before he ascended
the throne ought not to excite any great national regret." But his memory
will live forever, in connection with the stinging epigram, in which the
Tory feeling toward the Hanoverian race is so wonderfully depicted:--

    "Here lies Fred,
    Who was alive, and is dead.
    Had it been his father,
    I had much rather.
    Had it been his brother,
    Still better than another.
    Had it been his sister,
    No one would have missed her.
    Had it been the whole generation,
    Still better for the nation.
    But since 'tis only Fred,
    Who was alive, and is dead,
    There's no more to be said."

And yet, bad though Frederick indubitably was, and deficient in almost
every quality that constitutes the gentleman, we must not be too hard
on him. The manners of the age made him what he was; and he would have
been a wonderfully strong-minded man had he resisted their influence. It
may be a trite remark, but I fancy that nothing strikes the historical
student more than the change of manners that has taken place in so short
a period. When I was a boy, I remember being told by an old female
relative that she could perfectly well remember the coronation of George
III. In her presence, the reigns of George II. and William IV. seemed
to shake hands, and yet what a chasm existed between them. The greater
portion of the eighteenth century was a Tophet; we need only read
Casanova's Memoirs to see what it was on the Continent; but in England
it strikes us even more offensively, because here vice stalked forth
with its brazen brow uncovered. In France, on the other hand, there was
something Watteau-esque about it, and a slightly redeeming grace. It
is true that England had the great blessing of an industrious middle
class, among which moral views and the honest customs of Puritanism
were maintained; but the aristocratic classes were utterly corrupt. The
Hanoverian dynasty introduced, among other blessings, the _sauer-kraut_
tone of German pauper nobility; and its coarseness easily found access
among a people in whom every feeling of decency had been destroyed by
the fabulously shameless comedians of the Restoration. The family life
of the two first Georges was one long offence against propriety. Between
the first George and his son the feeling of hatred was so extreme, that,
after the death of the former, a document was found in his cabinet
containing the proposition and plan to seize the Prince of Wales and ship
him off to the colonies, where he could be easily got rid of. When we
remember, too, the mistresses whom George I. brought in his train from
Hanover--the "Elephant," that enormous lump of flesh, Sophie Freifrau
von Kielmansegge, and the "Maypole," her tall, thin rival, the Gräfin
Melusine von Eberstein--we can easily understand the coarseness which
appears deep-rooted in English society far into the eighteenth century.
One thing we may say in favour of this society, that no hypocrisy was
displayed. When Lady Dorchester, ex-mistress of James II., once met in
her old days, in George I.'s ante-chamber, the Duchess of Portsmouth,
ex-mistress of Charles II., and Lady Orkney, ex-mistress of William III.,
she exclaimed, loudly enough to be heard by all persons, "Good God! who
ever could have supposed that we three (well, suppose I say Traviati, as
better suited to the age than the plump word employed by her ladyship)
should meet at this place?" George II.'s sensible and virtuous wife
strove in vain to introduce a more decent tone into polite society; and
vice was still rampant far into the reign of her well-meaning grandson.

Early in the eighteenth century, polite society added to its other
accomplishments that of the wildest gambling, to which the South-Sea
Bubble gave the impulse. At White's, young gentlemen frequently lost in
one evening from £5 to £20,000; and at the Cocoa Tree, one night, there
was a single stake of £180,000. The unbounded betting mania among the
bucks was often displayed in the quaintest forms. Thus, for instance,
in 1756, Lords Rockingham and Oxford got up a race between four geese
and four turkeys from Norwich to London. English "eccentricity," as the
French would call it, had the fullest scope at that time. Take, for
instance, Lord Baltimore, whom we find travelling on the Continent, in
1769, with a harem of eight women, on whom he tried all sorts of dietetic
experiments. I need only hint at the orgies held in Medmenham Abbey, and
the blasphemous travesties of the Hell-fire Club, to which fifteen ladies
of the highest rank considered it an honour to belong.

At that time, the governing classes and the governed had scarce anything
in common but the air they breathed, or an occasional street row.
Fashionable vice affected a publicity which imparts historic value
to the satirical descriptions which Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has
left us. She tells us, _inter alia_, how, at Sir R. Walpole's seat,
a bill was discussed, for the purpose of omitting the "not" from the
Ten Commandments. Further on, we find a remark that both sexes have so
thoroughly recognised the inconveniences of matrimony that even girls
ridiculed it; and the title of "rake" graces women no less than men. Or
again, we read that, now-a-days, it is not considered at all improper to
say publicly that the Maid of Honour, Mrs. So-and-So, had got over her
confinement, but that Miss Whatshername has never thoroughly recovered
from her accouchement. With such a tone prevailing in society, we can
understand how Lord Chesterfield could reply to the notorious Miss
Chudleigh, when she complained of having been falsely accused of giving
birth to twins, "For my part, I never believe more than half of what
people say."

Under the government of George III. matters became no better. On the
contrary, the fashionable world seemed to take a pride in resenting by
their conduct the stupid domesticity of "Farmer George." We come across
lady topers, who could send the most practised wine-bibbers under the
table. Luxury, which was enormously augmented by the return of the
Nabobs, who had shaken the pagoda-tree to some effect, was displayed in
the realisation of the most wonderful caprices. Family and wedded honour
was trampled under foot, and the shamelessness of the women attained
incredible proportions. When one of the most notorious demireps, Lady
Worseley, ran away with an officer, and the insulted husband sued for a
divorce, the lady, in the hope of saving her paramour's purse, summoned
as witnesses thirty-two young noblemen and gentlemen, who had all been
her lovers with her husband's knowledge. Seven-and-twenty really appeared
in court, and one of them added, that Sir Richard once took him up to the
roof of the house to show him his wife in her bath--a Venus Anadyomene.
On the day of this remarkable trial there was an important motion in the
House, and Lord North was very anxious to secure the votes of his whole
party. Hence, when he did not see Sir Richard in his place, and the
reason for his absence was stated, he exclaimed, "Oh! if all my cuckolds
leave me in the lurch, I shall surely be in a minority." An illustration
of this remark is afforded in the fact, that the Bishop of Llandaff, when
bringing in a bill to regulate the Divorce Court, in 1777, stated, that
since George III.'s ascent of the throne, or during only sixteen years,
there had been more divorces than during the whole previous history of
England. The wives, of course, merely followed the example of their
husbands in immorality, as is usually the case. How, indeed, could any
check be possible, when a British minister, the Duke of Grafton, could
dare to drive out with his mistress, Nancy Parsons, one of the most
notorious Anonymas of the day, in the presence of the Court?

When fashionable vice was so openly and unblushingly displayed, it could
not fail but that the populace of the capital should now and then break
out into excesses of unbridled savagedom, as was more especially the
case in the notorious No-Popery riots of 1780. Crimes increased to an
extraordinary extent, not only in number, but in brutality. Horrible
murders were every-day events, as a glance at the "Annual Register" will
afford sickening proof. Members of the aristocracy committed the most
aggravated murders. As an instance, an Irish gentleman, after waylaying
a rival favoured by his mistress, offered him the choice between death
and awful mutilation, and, when the latter was chosen, carried it out
in such a way that the mutilated man died. The boldness of the robbers
and highwaymen was unbounded. The Lord Chancellor was robbed of the
great seal of England, the great Pitt of his plate, the Archbishop of
Canterbury's house was broken into, and the French mail stopped and
plundered in one of the busiest streets of the metropolis. In vain
did a justice, which rivalled crime in barbarity, pass whole batches
of death-sentences. In one year (1766), two hundred and twenty-three
persons were cast for death at the Assizes, and duly hanged. In 1786,
one hundred and thirty-three were sentenced to death at the Old Bailey
alone. Very significant signs of the age are the repeated instances of
idiotcy, insanity, and suicide. It was not at all uncommon for a noble
rake-hell,[6] who had drunk the cup of licentiousness to the dregs,
to collect a number of prostitutes for a final orgie, and blow out his
brains, either during or immediately after the Bacchanalian revel.[7]

Such was the state of society at the time when Augusta of Saxe-Coburg,
Princess of Wales, was left with seven young children, and another
shortly expected.[8] She was a young widow, only two-and-thirty years
of age, and had not a friend to depend on in the world. The king, her
papa-in-law, cordially hated her, and she had not even the consolation
of regretting her husband, for, though born a princess, she was a woman
after all, and had bitterly felt her late husband's open profligacy with
Lady Archibald Hamilton. Prince George alone expressed any regret at his
father's death, and that was in a modified form. When he was told of it,
he turned pale, and laid his hand on his breast. Ayscough said, "I am
afraid, sir, you are not well;" and the prince replied, "I feel something
here, just as I did when I saw the two workmen fall from the scaffold at

Sturdy little King George very soon recovered from the shock of his
son's death, even if he felt it; for we find that, on March 31, there
was a great court at St. James's, where the king appeared for the first
time in public since the death of the prince. On this occasion Prince
George, with his brothers, waited on his Majesty, who, in the evening,
paid a visit of condolence to his daughter-in-law at Leicester House,
which he followed up by another visit on April 4, paying great attention
to her comforts, and ordering the first quarterly payment of her income
in advance.[10] This income was by marriage settlement £100,000 a year;
but the princess had formed a resolution to pay her husband's private
debts, and kept her word. Shortly after receiving this scrap of comfort,
the widow's family was enlarged; on the evening of June 13 the princess
walked in Carlton Gardens, supped, and went to bed very well; she was
taken ill about six o'clock on the following morning, and at about eight
was delivered of a princess--the unfortunate CAROLINE MATILDA. "Both
well," Melcombe adds. Could he but have read the future, he might have
cried, "Better had she ne'er been born!"

The next few years passed over very tranquilly, to all appearance; the
princess devoted herself to the education of her children, and listening
to the advice of the only man she thoroughly trusted--Lord Bute. This
nobleman, a poor Scotchman, had made the acquaintance of Frederick
several years before, and by a diligent course of McSycophantism, had
rendered himself essential. Although he was the father of a large family,
his connection with the princess had the worst possible interpretation
put on it: and his unfortunate propensity for playing the part of
Lothario in private theatricals, gave an awful handle to Wilkes,
Churchill, and the other miscreants, who made up for the bluntness of
the weapon they handled by the ferocity of the blows they dealt. Even
the elegant Horry put an extra squeeze of gall into his standish when
describing the amours of the princess.

From Melcombe and Walpole we obtain a few glances at the domestic life of
the princess, which are worthy of attention, as showing the sphere and
the society in which Caroline Matilda was educated. The mother, it is
quite certain, dearly loved her children, but had a most disagreeable
way of showing her love. She kept a terribly tight rein over them, and
imbued them with her own prejudices and hatreds. Prince George's uncle,
"butcher George" of Cumberland, taking up a sabre once and drawing it
to amuse the child, the boy started and turned pale. The prince felt a
generous shock: "What must they have told him about me?" he asked. Very
touching, too, is the story of the little Duke of Gloucester (who in
after years distinguished himself with Lady Grosvenor). Seeing him silent
and unhappy, the princess sharply asked the cause of his silence: "I am
thinking," said the poor child. "Thinking, sir--of what?" "I am thinking,
if ever I have a son, I will not make him so unhappy as you make me."

And yet this woman, with her cold repellent way, adored her children, and
would have readily laid down her life for any one of them; but she forced
back her affection, lest the display of it might weaken her authority
over them. The examples of this maternal affection are so frequent in
Melcombe, that I may be pardoned for putting together a few extracts
which will throw a little pleasing light on a most calumniated woman:--

"_Oct. 9, 1752._--I received a letter from Mr. Cresset that her royal
highness would see me this morning. I got to Kew at half-past eleven. I
saw H.R.H. very soon; she, the Ladies Augusta, Elizabeth, and I, went
out and we walked without sitting down for more than three hours. We had
much talk upon all manner of private subjects, serious and ludicrous. Her
behaviour was open, friendly and unaffected. She commanded me to dine
and pass the evening with her. When we came in we met Lady Middlesex, who
had sent me word she was to be there. We walked in the afternoon till
dark. As we came in, she said she had a petition from the prince (of
Wales) that we would play at comet, of which he was very fond. The party
was the prince's--the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward; the Ladies Augusta
and Elizabeth, Lady Middlesex and Charlotte Edwin, and myself."

"_Oct. 15, 1752._--The princess having sent to desire me to pass the
day with her, I waited accordingly on her between eleven and twelve.
I saw her immediately; H.R.H., the children, and Lady Charlotte Edwin
went walking till two, and then returned to prayers, and from thence to
dinner. As soon as dinner was over, she sent for me, and we sat down to
comet. We rose from play about nine; the royal children retired, and the
princess called me to the farther end of the room. She began by saying
that she liked the prince should, now and then, amuse himself at small
play, but that princes should never play deep, both for the example, and
because it did not become them to win great sums."

I omit a long conversation in which the princess and Melcombe discussed
the ministry, and the king's conduct towards her; after which the courtly
scribe continues: "I then took the liberty to ask her what she thought
the real disposition of the prince to be? She said that I knew him
almost as well as she did; that he was very honest, but she wished that
he was a little more forward, and less childish at his age; that she
hoped his preceptors would improve him. I begged to know what methods
they took, what they read to him or made him read, and whether he showed
a particular inclination to any of the people about him. She said she did
not well know what they taught him, but, to speak freely, she was afraid
not much; that they were in the country and followed their diversion, and
not much else. She said, Stone told her that when he talked to the prince
upon those subjects (the government and constitution, the general course
and manner of business), he seemed to give a proper attention, and made
pertinent remarks. She repeated, he was a very honest boy, that his chief
passion seemed for his brother Edward.... She said the prince seemed to
have a very tender regard for the memory of his father, and that she
encouraged it as much as she could; that when they behaved wrongly, or
idly (as children will do), to any that belonged to the late prince,
and who are now about her, she always asked them how they thought their
father would have liked to see them behave so to anybody that belonged to
him, and whom they valued; and that they ought to have the more kindness
for them, because they had lost their friend and protector, who was
theirs also; and she said she found that it made a proper impression upon

"_Dec. 5, 1752._--Lord Harcourt resigned being governor to the prince.
He offered to do so, unless Mr. Stone (placed as sub-governor by the
ministers), Mr. Scott, tutor in the late prince's time (but recommended
by Lord Bolingbroke), and Mr. Cresset, made treasurer by the princess's
recommendation, were removed. The king desired him to consider of it; but
Lord Harcourt continuing in the same resolution, the archbishop and lord
chancellor were sent to him to know the particulars of his complaints
against those gentlemen. He replied that the particulars were fit only
to be communicated to the king; and, accordingly, he waited on his
Majesty, which ended in his resignation. The Bishop of Norwich sent in
his resignation by the same prelate and lord."

Sagacious Horace Walpole, who compressed so much wit into a sheet of
ordinary post, had entertained his doubts about Lord Harcourt two years
before: writing to Sir H. Mann, on June 8, 1751, he says in his dry way,
"They have hooked in, too, poor Lord Harcourt, and call him _Harcourt the
wise_: (how Horace must have grinned as he italicised the last word;)
his wisdom has already disgusted the young prince: 'Sir, pray hold up
your head,' 'Sir, for God's sake, turn out your toes!' Such are Mentor's

The storm in a puddle about Stone created an enormous sensation, and the
old cry of "wooden shoes and popery" rang through the land just as--well,
just as it does now-a-days, on any favourable occasion. The story is a
curious one, as told by Walpole, although Adolphus pooh-poohs it in a
very lordly way in his history of George III.

The young Prince of Wales, on the death of his father, was placed by
the king under the care of the Earl of Harcourt as governor; of Dr.
Hayter, Bishop of Norwich, as preceptor; and of Mr. Stone and Mr. Scott
as sub-governor and sub-preceptor. The two former were favourites of
Lord Lincoln, the ministerial nephew: Stone was the bosom-confidant
of the Duke of Newcastle: Scott, as well as the solicitor-general,
Murray, and Cresset, the favourite of the princess, were disciples of
Lord Bolingbroke, and his bequest to the late prince. Stone, in general
a cold, mysterious man, of little plausibility, had always confined
his arts, his application, and probably his views, to one or two great
objects. The princess could answer to all these lights; with her he
soon ingratiated himself deeply. Lord Harcourt was minute and strict
in trifles; and thinking that he discharged his trust conscientiously,
if on no account he neglected to make the prince turn out his toes, he
gave himself little trouble to respect the princess, or to condescend
to the sub-governor. The bishop, thinking himself already minister to
the future king, expected dependence from, and never once thought of
depending upon, the inferior governors. In the education of the two
princes he was sincerely honest and zealous, and soon grew to thwart the
princess whenever, as an indulgent, or perhaps a little as an ambitious
mother, (and this happened but too frequently,) she was willing to relax
the application of her sons. These jars appeared soon after the king's
going to Hanover; and by the season of his return they were ripe for his

With these disappointments, the king returned to England, and arrived
at St. James's, November 18th. The princess appeared again in public,
and the king gave her the same honours and place as the queen used to
have. He was not in the same gracious mood with others of the court. The
calamity of Lord Holderness, the secretary of state, was singular; he
was for some days in disgrace, for having played at blindman's-buff in
the summer at Tunbridge. To Lord Harcourt the king said not a word. In
the beginning of December the chancellor and the archbishop sent to Lord
Harcourt that they would wait on him by the king's command. He prevented
them, and went to the chancellor, who told him that they had orders to
hear his complaints. He replied, "They were not proper to be told but
to the king himself," which did not make it a little suspicious, that
even the princess was included in his disgusts. The first incident that
had directly amounted to a quarrel was the Bishop of Norwich finding the
Prince of Wales reading Père d'Orleans's "Révolutions d'Angleterre," a
book professedly written by the direction, and even by the communication,
of James II., to justify his measures. Stone at first peremptorily denied
having seen that book in thirty years, and offered to rest his whole
justification upon the truth or falsehood of that accusation. At last
it was confessed that the prince had the book, but it was qualified with
Prince Edward's borrowing it of his sister Augusta. Stone acted mildness,
and professed being willing to continue to act with Lord Harcourt and
the bishop; but the sore had penetrated too deep, and they who had given
the wounds had aggravated them with harsh provocations. The bishop was
accused of having turned Scott one day out of the prince's chamber by an
imposition of hands that had at least as much of the flesh as the spirit
in the force of the action. Cresset, the link of the connection, had
dealt out very ungracious epithets both on the governor and preceptor;
and Murray, by an officious strain of strange impudence, had early in
the quarrel waited on the bishop, and informed him that Mr. Stone ought
to have more consideration in the prince's family; and repeating the
visit and opinion, the bishop said, "He believed that Mr. Stone found
all proper regard, but that Lord Harcourt, the chief of the trust, was
generally present." Murray interrupted him, and cried, "Lord Harcourt!
pho! he is a cypher, and must be a cypher, and was put in to be a
cypher." A notification, however understood before by the world, that
could not be very agreeable to the person destined to a situation so
insignificant! Accordingly, December 6th, Lord Harcourt had a private
audience in the king's closet, and resigned. The archbishop waited on
his Majesty, desiring to know if he would see the Bishop of Norwich, or
accept his resignation from his (the archbishop's) hands. The king chose
the latter.[11]

The poor princess was sadly perplexed by all this pother, and told
Melcombe that she knew nothing of it, and could not conceive what they
meant: but she added, after profound reflection, "indeed, the bishop was
teaching them logic, which, as she was told, was a very odd study for
children of their age, not to say of their condition." Perhaps, if Prince
George had paid more attention to the study, he would not have behaved so
illogically during the American war. However, it all blew over again, ere
long, and we find Lord Melcombe able to record:

"_1753, February 8._--I waited on the princess. She began at once by
saying she had good news to tell me; that they were very happy in their
family; that the new bishop gave great satisfaction; that he seemed to
take great care and in a proper manner; and that the children took to him
and seemed mightily pleased.

"I stick (the princess is speaking) to the learning as the chief point;
you know how backward they were when we were together, and I am sure you
don't think them much improved since. It may be that it is not too late
to acquire a competence, and that is what I am most solicitous about;
and if this man, by his manner, should hit upon the means of giving
them that, I shall be mightily pleased. The Bishop of Norwich was so
confused, that one could never tell what he meant, and the children were
not at all pleased with him. The stories about the history of the Père
d'Orleans were false; the only little dispute between the bishop and
Prince Edward, was about le Père Péréfixe's history of Henry IV."

One more extract, and we return Lord Melcombe to the limbo whence we drew

"_1753, November 17._--The princess sent for me to attend her between
eight and nine o'clock. I went to Leicester House, expecting a small
company and a little music, but found nobody but her royal highness.
She made me draw a stool and sit by the fireside. Soon after came in
the Prince of Wales and Prince Edward, and then the Lady Augusta, all
in undress, and took their stools and sat round the fire with us. We
continued talking of familiar occurrences till between seven and eleven,
with the ease and unreservedness and unconstraint, as if one had dropped
into a sister's house, that had a family, to pass the evening. It is much
to be wished that the princess conversed familiarly with more people of
a certain knowledge of the world."

Bubb's closing remark may be truly endorsed. Though Dr. Thomas, Bishop
of Peterboro', the new preceptor to the Prince of Wales, was a very
excellent man, and gave great satisfaction to the princess, from the
extraordinary care and proper manner manifested in his conduct, and
though the royal children loved him, and were much pleased with his
instruction,--for all that I do not think him the right man in the right
place. Granted that the course of education became of the most beneficial
kind, and that the public were fully satisfied that the prince, instead
of being separated from his remaining parent, should be especially under
her care, whilst he received his elementary initiation into literature
and politics, still, the result was a faulty one, as a competent writer
on the subject allows.[12]

In the plan, however, of keeping the prince exempt from the vices of
the age, there was, perhaps, too much and unnecessary strictness; as it
went so far as even to restrain him, with a few exceptions, from all
intercourse with the young nobility, confining his knowledge of the
world to books and the social circle at Leicester House, which, though
select and cheerful as well as unrestrained, was not adapted to give
that manliness of character necessary for a monarch, and might have been
productive of much evil, had not the prince's own natural resolution,
since denominated obstinacy, preserved him from acquiring that milkiness
of character which might have been expected.

Little did people think at the time how bitterly a fair-haired cherub,
then playing about the gardens of Carlton House, would suffer from the
want of knowledge of the world in which her brother was being brought up.

In this rambling chapter, the slightest allusion to the family of
Caroline Matilda must be forgiven, and the following passage is solely
inserted to prove the thoughtfulness of the Princess of Wales for the
poor, and as a fair ground for assuming that _qualis mater, talis filia_.

"Another instance of the attention paid by the Princess Dowager to the
encouragement of native industry, and to the finding employment for
females, was manifested on the Princess Augusta's birthday, when she
herself, with all the princesses, appeared in curious hats of fine thread
needlework on book muslin, in hopes of bringing them into fashion, as
it would employ a great number of poor girls, making useful subjects of
those who would otherwise be burdensome to the public, or exposed to all
the horrors of vice and penury."[13]

I hesitated for a long time ere I made up my mind to quote Walpole's
account of the Prince of Wales attaining his majority, for it contains
many scandalous insinuations against his mother, for which there is not
a particle of evidence. I have, however, decided on giving it room, not
only because it throws some light on family affairs, but also because I
have such faith in the character of the princess that I believe it can
defy even worse attacks. Having a special object in view in giving these
details, which will not be visible for some time hence, I throw down the
glove to the goddess of scandal and her arch-priest, Horace Walpole, and
let them say their worst.

"The Prince of Wales attained the age prescribed for his majority on June
4, by which the Regency Bill remains only a dangerous precedent of power
to posterity--no longer so to us, for whose subjection it was artfully,
though, by the grace of God, vainly calculated. This epoch, however,
brought to light the secrets of a court, where, hitherto, everything
had been transacted with mysterious decency. The princess had conducted
herself with great respect to the king, with appearance of impartiality
to ministers and factions. If she was not cordial to the duke (of
Cumberland), or was averse to his friends, it had been imputed less
to any hatred adopted from her husband's prejudices, than to jealousy
of the government of her son; if the world should choose to ascribe
her attention for him to maternal affection, they were at liberty; she
courted and watched him neither more nor less for their conjectures. It
now at last appeared that maternal tenderness or ambition were not the
sole passions that engrossed her thoughts. It had already been whispered
that the assiduity of Lord Bute at Leicester House, and his still more
frequent attendance in the gardens at Kew and Carlton House, were less
addressed to the Prince of Wales than to his mother. The eagerness of
the pages of the back-stairs to let her know whenever Lord Bute arrived
[and some other symptoms] contributed to dispel the ideas that had been
conceived of the rigour of her widowhood. On the other hand, the favoured
personage, naturally ostentatious of his person, and of haughty carriage,
seemed by no means desirous of concealing his conquest. His bows grew
more theatric, his graces contracted some meaning, and the beauty of his
leg was constantly displayed in the eyes of the poor captivated princess.
Indeed, the nice observers of the court-thermometer, who often foresee a
change of weather before it actually happens, had long thought that her
royal highness was likely to choose younger ministers than that formal
piece of empty mystery, Cresset, or the matron-like decorum of Sir George
Lee.... Her simple husband, when he took up the character of the regent's
gallantry, had forced an air of intrigue even upon his wife. When he
affected to retire into gloomy _allées_ with Lady Middlesex, he used to
bid the princess walk with Lord Bute. As soon as the prince was dead,
they walked more and more, in honour of his memory.[14]

"The favour of Lord Bute was scarce sooner known than the connections of
Pitt and Legge with him. The mystery of Pitt's breach with Fox was at
once unravelled--and a court secret of that nature was not likely long to
escape the penetration of Legge, who wormed himself into every intrigue
where his industry and subservience could recommend him--yet Legge had
not more application to power than Newcastle jealousy of it. Such an
entrenchment round the successor alarmed him. It was determined in his
little council that the moment the Prince of Wales should be of age, he
should be taken from his mother; but the secret evaporating, intimations
by various channels were conveyed to the Duke of Newcastle and to the
chancellor, how much the prince would resent any such advice being given
to the king, and that it would not be easy to carry it into execution.
The prince lived shut up with his mother and Lord Bute, and must have
thrown them under some difficulties; their connection was not easily
reconcilable to the devotion which they had infused into the prince; the
princess could not wish him always present, and yet dreaded his being out
of her sight. His brother Edward, who received a thousand mortifications,
was seldom suffered to be with him; and Lady Augusta, now a woman, was,
to facilitate some privacy for the princess, dismissed from supping
with her mother, and sent back to cheese-cakes, with her little sister
Elizabeth, on pretence that meat at night would fatten her too much.

"The ministers, too apt to yield when in the right, were now obstinate
in the wrong place, and without knowing how to draw the king out of the
difficulty into which they were pushing him, advised this extraordinary
step. On May 31st, Lord Waldegrave, as the last act of his office of
governor, was sent with letters of the same tenor to the prince and
to his mother, to acquaint them that the prince being now of age, the
king, who had ever shown the greatest kindness and affection for him,
had determined to give him £40,000 a-year, would settle an establishment
for him, of the particulars of which he should be informed, and that his
Majesty had ordered the apartments of the late prince at Kensington, and
of the queen at St. James's, to be fitted up for him; that the king would
take Prince Edward too, and give him an allowance of £5,000 a-year.

"After a little consult in their small cabinet, both prince and princess
sent answers in writing, drawn up, as was believed, by Legge, and so
artfully worded, that the supposition was probable. The prince described
himself as penetrated by the goodness of his Majesty, and receiving with
the greatest gratitude what his Majesty, in his parental affection, was
pleased to settle on him; but he entreated his Majesty not to divide him
from his mother, which would be a most sensible affliction to both. The
answer of the princess remarked, that she had observed, with the greatest
satisfaction, the impression which his Majesty's _consideration_ of the
prince had made on him; and she expressed much sensibility of all the
king's kindness to her. On the article of the separation, she said not a

In the course of my studies, I have naturally gone as deeply as I could
into this question of the alleged liaison between the princess and Lord
Bute, and believe I have traced it to its real source. On one occasion,
Miss Chudleigh appeared at a fancy ball, dressed as Iphigenia waiting for
the sacrifice, and so décolletée that an eye-witness declared that she
wished to display her entrails to the sacrificing priest. The princess
mildly rebuked her for her licentiousness; and the maid of honour
flippantly replied, "Altesse, vous savez, chacun à son bût." The retort
was clever, if impertinent, and spread like wildfire. Miss Chudleigh's
last good thing was quoted, and, from this moment, I firmly believe, a
hitherto floating charge became anchored. That the couple intrigued, I
am willing to admit, but it was a political intrigue; a woman, who has
escaped from a profligate husband, to whom she has borne nine children,
does not so easily place herself in another man's power. Bute was poor;
the princess was ambitious; they had the future king of England in their
hands, and meant to keep him. Bute, mayhap, for ulterior purposes of
his own, but the mother most certainly, because she did not believe
her son capable of walking alone. Up to the day of her death, she held
unbounded sway over the king; but, in no one instance, did she exert
it to benefit a favourite; while in the choice of her own household,
she was actuated solely by merit. Poor woman! she had but few pleasures
in this world; she did her duty honestly, as she thought, and most
certainly set an example to mothers by the way in which she brought up
her children. The only reward she has received from posterity has been
at the most a flippant sneer at her narrow-mindedness; but too often a
hasty condemnation as a widow who sought consolation in the arms of her
husband's friend.

Politest of epistolary Horaces, of the many sins you have to answer for,
the worst is surely your deliberate attempt to blacken the character of
an unoffending woman, who tried to do her duty according to her lights,
and to whose fostering care we at any rate owed one George, who stands
out as a shining and burning example among the four who bore the name.


[Footnote 1: Wraxall's "Historical Memoirs," vol. ii. p. 46, &c.]

[Footnote 2: Or Britain, as the king originally wrote it.]

[Footnote 3: How admirably "Lord Fanny" hits this off, when he says,
in his "Memoirs of George II.:" "The king, talking of the people who
had governed this country in other times, said: 'King Charles, by his
mistresses; King James, by his priests; King William, by his men; and
Queen Anne, by her women--favourites. His father, he added, had been by
anybody who could get at him.' And at the end of this catalogue the heir
of Dettingen asks: 'And who do they say governs us now?' Sporus answers
the question to himself and his own satisfaction, by quoting four lines
from a current lampoon, which are handed down to posterity, and smash the
small king's prestige:--

    "You may strut, dapper George, but 'twill all be in vain,
    You govern no more than Don Philip of Spain;
    Then, if you would have us fall down and adore you,
    Lock up your fat wife, as your dad did before you."

[Footnote 4: At the time when the "Historical Memoirs" were published,
the critics fell foul of the king's remark, and denied its authenticity.
But, I possess the letter in which Lord G. Sackville stated it. So
the invention, be it one, rests with that nobleman, and not with my

[Footnote 5: "Walpole's Letters," vol. ii, p. 248.]

[Footnote 6: For this word I am indebted to Miss Prudence B--r--h--d, in
"The New Bath Guide:"

    Brother Sim has turned a rake-hell;
      Balls and parties every day.
    Jenny laughs at tabernacle.
      Tabby Runt has gone astray.

Since writing this, however, it has occurred to me that Mr. Anstey may
have merely invented the word for the sake of the rhyme.]

[Footnote 7: Proof that my statements are not too strong, will be found
in the following works:--Letters of Lady M. W. Montagu; Junius; Gibbon's
Miscellaneous Works and Memoirs; Walpole's Memoirs and Letters to Sir H.
Mann; Burke's Anecdotes of the Aristocracy; Wraxall's Historical Memoirs;
and a very curious German work, recently published, Chrysander's Händel,
vol. ii.]

[Footnote 8: For convenience of reference, I will give here, once for
all, a list of the children, as I shall have to allude to some of them
pretty frequently in the course of my narrative. The list is taken from
the "Gentleman's Magazine," 1772:--

1. Augusta, born July 31, 1737, O.S.; married to the Hereditary Prince of

2. GEORGE, born May 24, 1738, O.S.; king of Great Britain.

3. Edward, Duke of York, born March 14, 1739; died Sept. 7, 1767, at

4. Elizabeth, born Dec. 30, 1740; died Sept. 4, 1759.

5. William, Duke of Gloucester, born Nov. 14, 1743.

6. Henry, Duke of Cumberland, born Oct. 27, 1745; married in Oct., 1771,
to Mrs. Horton, widow, daughter of Lord Irnham, and sister to Col.

7. Louisa, born March 8, 1748; died an infant.

8. Frederick, born May 13, 1750; died Dec. 29, 1765.

9. Caroline, born July 11, 1751; married Nov. 8, 1766, to Christian VII.,
King of Denmark.]

[Footnote 9: "Walpole's Letters," vol. ii., p. 248.]

[Footnote 10: "George III., his Court, and Family," vol. iii., p. 134.]

[Footnote 11: "Memoirs of the Last Ten Years of the Reign of George II."
By Horace Walpole. Vol. i. pp. 247-254.]

[Footnote 12: "George III., his Court and Family," vol. i. pp. 142-3.]

[Footnote 13: "George III., his Court and Family," vol. i. p. 172.]

[Footnote 14: How this remark reminds us of the lines in the _New Bath

    "But Stephen, no sighing, no tears could recall,
    So she hallowed the seventh, and went to the ball."

[Footnote 15: "Last Ten Years of the Reign of George II." By Horace
Walpole. Vol. ii. pp. 47-50.]




It is not possible to give any detailed account of the youth of Caroline
Matilda, for young princesses are not brought much into evidence. Any
one, for instance, who desired to trace the life of the Princess Helena
from her birth to the present day, would necessarily be but a small-beer
chronicler; how much more is this true in the case of Caroline Matilda;
for George III., through a mistaken feeling of brotherly piety, destroyed
every scrap of paper that bore her handwriting. Hence, I will not weary
my readers by dull quotations from the newspapers as to the appearances
in public of the princess, but leave them to the pleasing belief that the
first fifteen years of her life glided placidly away.

Of the results of her mother's careful training, we fortunately
possess fuller evidence, in an unpretending work called "Memoirs of an
Unfortunate Queen." The authenticity of this book has been contested,
because it was published anonymously;[16] but after careful examination
and comparison, I am disposed to accept it in evidence. The details
connected with the palace revolution, reveal an intimate knowledge of
the facts, which only a constant attendant on the Queen could possess.
At first, I was inclined to believe that my grandfather was the author,
but I find no proof to that effect among his papers. That the book should
be published anonymously, adds, in this instance, to its authenticity.
George III. had a horror of the facts connected with his sister being
published, and would have visited with his severest displeasure any
courtier guilty of such an offence. Hence, though the author thought
it his duty to vindicate the honour of a beloved mistress, he did not
consider that her cause would be served by a self-sacrifice.

From her tenderest years, Caroline Matilda displayed the most endearing
vivaciousness, and a sweetness of temper that could not fail to
engage the affections of her attendants. When she attained the age
of discernment, her heart and her mind became susceptible of the most
generous sentiments. Her person was graceful; her manners elegant; her
voice sweet and melodious, and her countenance most prepossessing. The
author of "Northern Courts," no friend of the Queen generally, cannot
refrain from expressing his admiration of her beauty when he first saw
her. "Her complexion was uncommonly fine; she might, without flattery,
have been termed the fairest of the fair. Her hair was very light flaxen,
almost as white as silver, and of luxurious growth; her eyes were light
blue, clear, large and expressive; her lips, particularly the under lip,
full and pouting; her teeth white and regular." Her disposition was
most amiable; and several indigent families at Kew, where this charming
princess was not so much restrained by the etiquette of a Court as in
London, often experienced her beneficence and liberality, and frequently
obtained considerable relief from her privy purse.

Her education was a remarkable one for the times: she spoke German,
French, and Italian, fluently; and her knowledge of English literature
was very extensive. Her diction was pure, and her elocution graceful.
She could, with facility, repeat the most admired passages of our
dramatic poets; and often rehearsed, with great judgment and propriety,
whole scenes of Shakespeare's most admired plays. She performed on
the pianoforte, and had a marked taste for music. She also danced very

Such innocence, beauty and grace, made a marked impression on the
English; and indeed the whole of the king's brothers and sisters were
popular. Mr. Wraxall, of Bristol, writing to his son in 1775, to
condole with him on the death of his royal mistress, may be regarded as
expressing the general opinion, when he says: "I have the most lively
sense of what the queen was only a few months before her marriage, when
her majesticness of person and the apparent courtesy of her address,
made very favourable impressions on me; and I can fully acquiesce,
notwithstanding an obscurity in history, that on her own account she was
truly amiable and much worthy to be lamented." We find in this passage
a sympathy with the misfortunes of Caroline Matilda, and regret for her
premature death, tempered by a doubt as to her purity, which was aroused,
as we shall see hereafter, by her brother's ill-judged reticence on her

As a proof of the pretty, easy style of the princess's correspondence,
room must be made here for four of her letters which have been preserved,
and which are written in the happy confidence of childhood. The dates are
not given, but they are evidently anterior to the report of her marriage.

_To Lady B---- M----._

DEAR B----,

Since you left Richmond, I have much improved my little copyhold in Kew
Gardens, and made a great proficiency in the knowledge of exotics. I
miss often your company, not only for your pretty chat, but for your
approbation in my hortulan embellishments. This, you will say, is
selfishness and vanity to the highest degree. Are we not all feeble
mortals,--a compound of both? You know we have but a narrow circle of
amusements, that we can sometimes vary but never enlarge. How long do
you intend to plague me by your absence? It is ungenerous, as I cannot
come to you. I wish often the title of Royal Highness should lie dormant,
to jaunt with you like a pert _cit_. I expect, when I see you, to have
a faithful account of all your summer's excursions, and to conclude
precisely, _Dieu vous ait dans sa sainte garde_!

    Your faithful friend,

To Lady C---- F----.


J'ai commencé un cours de belles lettres en François, à la portée d'une
personne qui veut passer pour avoir de la lecture, sans avoir la manie
d'être savante. Les ouvrages qui j'ai choisi, sont ceux de Voltaire,
Crébillon le fils, Marivaux et Fontenelle, qui selon moi ont tous un
mérite original dans leur genre. Enough of French. As I find more
instruction and more entertainment in your agreeable conversation than
in the writings of conceited authors,--who censure, reason, moralise, or
advance facts and opinions, without answering the doubts and objections
of their readers,--I beg you will indulge me with this pleasure and
satisfaction as often as you conveniently can. I am not philosopher
enough to give up the society of my friends for books; and, indeed, my
sex and my age are entitled to some prating. May I have the talent, like
you, to tell _de jolis riens_, and to speak with sense and knowledge,
without appearing scientific, is the sincere wish of

    Your affectionate

_To Lady S---- S----._

MY DEAR S----,

Since you have made the petit tour, I expect you will give me a faithful
account of all the high and mighty minheers, fraws and altesses, by whom
you have been entertained in Holland and Germany. Like all travellers,
you are entitled to a grain of allowance. I believe, like most of our
countrymen, you think, after all, our country is the best to live in; or,
as a Frenchman says: _ces bonnes gens aiment leur pays_. I hope you have
received some declaration of love, uttered with the Germanic sincerity;
and that you have not betrayed, _à l'Anglois_, some ennui at the courts
of their royal and serene highnesses of Orange and Brunswick. By-the-by,
these princes are not sorry that their consorts add to their pompous
titles that of Royal, which, as it is given them jointly and severally,
will, upon failure of love, summon pride against a divorce. Let me know
when you intend to pay me a friendly visit, as I dispense you heartily
with the etiquette of courts. I believe you have no doubt of my veracity,
when I subscribe myself

    Your faithful friend,

_To H.R.H. Augusta, Princess of Brunswick._


I am happy to hear that you are safely arrived at Brunswick, and that the
compliments of the nobility and gentry of the duchy, on your auspicious
marriage, &c., are now at an end. It is really a hard task to receive
graciously a crowd of people you never saw, were you ever so fatigued or
indisposed. I shall not ask you to impart to me the observations you have
made in your travels, as the European princesses, who are obliged to live
in perpetual exile for the sake of a husband, are not even indulged to
stop when and where they please, to satisfy their curiosity, when sent
upon a matrimonial errand. Pray let me know how you like your operas and
ridottos. I have nothing to tell you. What may be expected in a court is
only to diversify _l'ennui_. All the august family are well. I beg to be
remembered to his Serene Highness; and that you will do me the favour
to believe, that neither absence nor distance will ever cause the least
alteration in my sisterly love.

    Your most affectionate

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards the close of 1764, the Danish ministry opened negotiations to
obtain for Prince Christian the hand of his cousin, Caroline Matilda. In
his speech from the throne, on January 10, 1765, George III. informed the

"I have now the satisfaction to inform you that I have agreed with my
good brother, the King of Denmark, to cement the union which has long
subsisted between the two crowns by the marriage of the Prince Royal of
Denmark with my sister the Princess Caroline Matilda, which is to be
solemnized as soon as their respective ages will admit."

To which his Majesty's faithful Commons replied, that the alliance was
most pleasing to them, as it must tend to cement and strengthen the
ancient alliance between the crowns of Great Britain and Denmark, and
_thereby add security to the Protestant religion_.[17] The announcement
of the marriage was soon followed by the public appearance of the
princess at court, as we find that on January 18 she opened the ball
given at St. James's in honour of her Majesty's birthday, with the Duke
of York.

It does not appear that the princess entertained any pleasing sensations
about the alliance she was about to form. She was probably too young
to have any personal feelings as regarded her bridegroom elect, and
doubtless the sorrow she experienced arose from the thought of the entire
separation from her family. The ladies in attendance on her observed
that, after this alliance was declared, she became pensive, reserved,
and disquieted, though always gracious, without taking upon herself
more state, or requiring more homage from the persons admitted into her
presence. A conversation with one of her relations throws some light
on the nature of her feelings. As she had never been farther from the
metropolis than Windsor, before she went abroad to be "sacrificed on the
altar of inauspicious Hymen," she said once to her aunt, the Princess
Amelia, previous to the departure of the latter for Bath, "I wish most
heartily that I could obtain permission to accompany you, as nothing
would give me more pleasure and satisfaction than to travel in my native
country: but this indulgence I cannot expect, since princesses of the
blood royal, like cockneys, seldom go beyond the bills of mortality."
To which her Royal Highness replied, "I should think myself very happy
were this exception to be made in my favour: but I dare say it will not
be long before you see more of England, and some foreign country into the
bargain." "I guess what you mean," replied the Princess Caroline, "but
perhaps it would be more happy for me to remain as I am, than to go so
far for a prince I never saw. To be or not to be? that is the question."
The same feeling, though in more guarded language, is expressed in the
following letter:--

_To H.R.H. the Princess Mary of Hesse Cassel._


I give your Royal Highness my most sincere thanks for your congratulation
upon my approaching marriage: but really I do not know whether we are
not rather objects of pity than envy, when we are politically matched
with princes whom we never saw, and may not, perhaps, find in us those
charms which, if even real, are too often eclipsed by the beauties of a
court set off with national partiality. I am sensible of the honour his
Majesty of Denmark has done me, by singling me out from among so many
amiable princesses, perhaps more worthy of his choice, but my youth and
inexperience make me apprehensive of not fitting the highest station of
a kingdom according to the expectations of subjects, who seldom think
themselves obliged to us for the little good we do, and always impute
to us part of their grievances. However, as my scruples will not in the
least avail, I shall do my best to please the king and to conciliate the
affections of his subjects. I am glad that this alliance is an additional
affinity to your Royal Highness, of whom I am

    The loving niece,

       *       *       *       *       *

The death of Frederick V. of Denmark and accession of Christian VII. on
January 14, 1766, offered no impediment to the marriage; on the contrary,
it appears as if it were solemnized, in consequence, earlier than had
been originally intended. The general opinion of the British public was
favourable to the marriage, which was preceded by one between a sister
of Christian VII. and the prince royal of Sweden. The double marriage
appeared to cement the Protestant interest, and thus counterpoise the
close union of the House of Bourbon. Moreover, it was hoped that the
French influence, which had so long prevailed at Copenhagen, would be
abolished in favour of the Anglo-Prussian system, and--to quote the words
of the "Annual Register"--"it is not to be doubted, but the amiable
princess whom his Danish Majesty is about to espouse, will contribute
greatly to increase these good dispositions, as well as the harmony and
friendship which still subsists between our court and nation and those of

On June 3, 1766, a message from the crown was delivered to the House,
asking a portion for the Princess Caroline upon her marriage with
the King of Denmark. Dyson, in opposition to the ministers, offered
a precedent against taking the message into consideration, except in
committee or the next day,--a strange disrespect, unless it had been
concerted with the king. This occasioned a long debate, in which Conway
greatly distinguished himself by his spirit and abilities; and Dyson's
motion was rejected by 118 to 35. Next came a message for a settlement
on the princess. Augustus Hervey proposed to amend the address, and to
promise to take it into immediate consideration. This, too, was outvoted;
and Charles Townshend spoke finely on the occasion with great encomiums
on the Duke of Grafton and Conway.[18] The portion actually voted was

At half-past seven in the evening of Oct. 1, 1766, H.R.H. Caroline
Matilda was married at the Chapel Royal of St. James. H.R.H. the Duke of
York was proxy for the King of Denmark, and the ceremony was performed
by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. Next morning, at a quarter
past six, her Majesty set out from Carlton House for Harwich, accompanied
by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, the Honourable Lady Mary Boothby,
and Count von Bothmar, her Majesty's Vice-Chamberlain and late Danish
Envoy in England, in a train of three coaches, escorted by parties of
light horse, horse grenadiers, and life-guards, and a numerous train of
domestics and attendants. The parting between the Queen of Denmark and
H.R.H. the Princess of Wales was extremely tender; the young queen was
observed on getting into her coach to shed tears, which greatly affected
the populace assembled in Pall Mall to witness her departure.

Her Majesty arrived at Harwich at a quarter to four on the 2nd October,
where Admiral Keppel was awaiting her with the royal yacht. During the
whole journey from London she was seen to be buried in deep thought, and
to gaze frequently and sadly at a talisman given her by her affectionate
mother--it was a ring, with the inscription "Bring me happiness." Could
she have had a foreboding of the fearful fate that awaited her at
Copenhagen? Nature, too, appeared to oppose her departure, for the wind
blew so heavily that it was not thought advisable for the queen to embark
that night. She lay at the house of Mr. Davis, collector of customs,
and spent the evening in writing the following letter to her favourite
brother, the Duke of York:--


I have just time enough to write you these few lines from England. If
patriotism consists in the love of our country, what I feel now at the
sight of that element which, in a few hours, shall convey me far from
this happy land, gives me a just claim to that virtue. Perhaps you men,
who boast of more fortitude, call this sensibility weakness, as you would
be ashamed to play the woman on such an occasion; but, in wishing you all
the temporal felicity this life can afford, I confess all the philosophy
I am mistress of cannot hinder me from concluding, with tears in my eyes,

    Sir, and dear brother,
    Your most affectionate sister,

       *       *       *       *       *

On the next morning, October 3, her Majesty embarked at half-past eleven,
and her sobbing heart found at least some relief and comfort in a flood
of tears. Of this circumstance an eye-witness remarks: "The tears of her
Majesty, on parting from the dear country in which she drew her first
breath, might have inspired in those who beheld them gloomy forebodings
as to the issue of the voyage she was about to undertake." In another
account we read how the queen was dressed in bloom colour with white
flowers. Wherever she passed, the earnest wishes of the people were for
her health, and praying to God to preserve her from the perils of the
sea. A gentle melancholy at times seemed to affect her on account of
leaving her family and the place of her birth; but, upon the whole, she
carried an air of serenity and majesty which exceedingly moved every
one that beheld her. As Mrs. Gillespie Smyth justly remarks,[19] "how
irresistibly do these details of the contemporary chronicler, in the
quaint language of the times--the bloom-coloured dress and so on, suggest
to those acquainted with the sad sequel the idea of an unconscious victim
proceeding to her doom!"

The very sea seemed reluctant to surrender its lovely burden, for it
was not till the 9th, a little before nine o'clock in the morning, that
the queen safely landed at Rotterdam. Thence she set out for Utrecht,
in the Prince of Orange's yacht. The Prince of Orange, the Prince and
Princesses of Nassau Weilburg, and Prince Louis of Brunswick, received
her Majesty on her landing, and conducted her to the apartments in the
Admiralty House, which the magistrates of Rotterdam had fixed upon as the
most convenient for her Majesty to arrive at, and where she was pleased
to accept the compliments of the regency of that city. The Princess of
Weilburg accompanied the queen through the town to her yacht, amidst the
acclamations of the people, where the Prince of Orange again received her
Majesty, and took leave.

Her Majesty travelled _viâ_ Osnabrück, Lingen, and Utrecht to Harburg,
and, on October 18, reached Altona, where she was welcomed by the viceroy
of the duchies, Baron von Dehn, in the name of her consort. The joy with
which she was received was almost indescribable. The bridge prepared for
her royal reception was covered with scarlet cloth, on one side of which
were ranged the ladies, and on the other the men, and at the end were two
rows of young women, dressed in white, who strewed flowers before her
Majesty as she approached. "The illuminations were inconceivable," the
chronicler, lost for language, concludes. On the 22nd she set out for
Copenhagen with Baron von Dehn.

In England the marriage was accompanied by the usual loyal addresses,
which require no special comment, except in the case of that presented
by the city of London, in which Mr. Recorder alludes to the auspicious
marriage with that great "potentate" the King of Denmark, which leads to
the notion that Englishmen must either have had a very poor opinion of
their own country, or else could afford to be generous when referring
to that tight little kingdom of Denmark. Another remarkable fact for
the verse-writing century is, that I do not find a single epithalamium
or flourish of poetical trumpets in honour of the marriage. Even loyal
Mr. Whitehead, who earned his sack most honestly, and neglected no
opportunity to give his Pegasus a canter, found no inspiration in the
royal marriage.

At this point in Caroline Matilda's life I will leave her for a while,
in order to introduce the reader to the other principal actors in the
strange eventful drama of her life. We have seen how she was transported
at once from the bosom of a happy private family to the morally aid
physically frozen regions of the north. Born after the early and sudden
demise of her father, this posthumous pledge of conjugal affection must
have grown closely to the widowed mother's heart, while at the same time
we can fully understand how genial must have been the atmosphere in
which the natural talents and acquired accomplishments of the youngest
of a large and happy family were previously developed. She left her
home without the slightest acquaintance with the external world, "as
unprepared to encounter its stern realities as some tender exotic, from
her favourite summer abode at Kew, would have been to meet the blasts of
the climate to which she was transplanted."[20]


[Footnote 16: Baron von Seckendorf, writing to Mr. W. N. Wraxall, in
1776, remarks: "On m'a aussi parlé dernièrement d'une brochure qui
vient de parôitre à Londres au sujet de notre chère et respectable
maîtresse qui a pour titre, '_Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen_;' quoique
l'authenticité de ces lettres est incontestablement fausse, je serois
pourtant bien aise de les posséder." How on earth could the Baron be
certain of the falsehood of a book which he had not seen?]

[Footnote 17: "Annual Register, 1765."]

[Footnote 18: Walpole's "Memoirs of Reign of George III.," vol. ii. pp.

[Footnote 19: "Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir R. Murray Keith," vol.
i. p. 163. A book which contains a great deal of thrashed out straw, and
is remarkable for the art by which every interesting or satisfactory
document has been left out.]

[Footnote 20: "Memoirs of Sir R. M. Keith," vol. i. p. 165.]




On January 29, 1749, an heir to the united kingdoms of Denmark and
Norway, the equally united duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, (with
the exception of that portion of the latter country which was still
Russian,) and to the counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, first saw
the light of the world in the person of the future Christian VII. Great
was the delight of the royal parents at the birth of this son, because
it prevented the possibility of any dispute about the succession on the
death of the reigning monarch. In the duchies and counties the agnatic
line alone was able to succeed, while in the two kingdoms the cognate
line was competent to ascend the throne. This requires a few words of
explanation, as the whole Schleswig-Holstein embroglio is based on it.

In 1460, after the expiration of the Schauenburg race, the estates of
Schleswig-Holstein elected as their prince the same Count Christian of
Oldenburg, who twelve years previously had been elected King of Denmark,
and bears in history the name of Christian I. At this election, among
other regulations, were two, to the effect that, first, Schleswig
should never be reunited to Denmark, but that Schleswig and Holstein
"should remain eternally undivided and together;" and, secondly, as
regarded the succession, it was established that, by virtue of the law
of succession prevailing in the German empire from the oldest times, in
Schleswig-Holstein only the male branch of the House of Oldenburg should
succeed by right of primogeniture. The female line was thus excluded,
while, on the other hand, it was admitted to succession in Denmark. In
the event of the male line expiring, therefore, the same thing would
occur in respect to the united kingdoms of Denmark as happened, in 1837,
with regard to the united kingdoms of Hanover and Great Britain. In
England the female line was capable of succeeding to the throne, while
in Hanover, by virtue of the old imperial law, only the male branch was
admitted. When William IV. died, in 1837, the nearest female collateral
succeeded him in Queen Victoria, while Hanover fell to the nearest male
agnate, the Duke of Cumberland.[21]

Frederick V. received from his subjects the honourable surname of "the
good," as did his grandson, Frederick VI., after him. Judging from
contemporary records, he hardly earned the title, toward the close of
his reign at any rate. Queen Louisa, a daughter of our George II.,
was literally adored for her goodness of heart and beauty by all her
subjects, whether Danes, Norwegians, or Germans.[22] Hence great pity was
felt when the young prince lost this tender mother in his third year, for
she died in 1751.[23]

The blow was so terrible to the king that he was inconsolable. Sir C.
Hanbury Williams, arriving three weeks afterwards to deliver a letter
of condolence from King George II., still found the royal widower in
tears; not only was court mourning ordered for a year, but every public
amusement in the whole kingdom was prohibited for the same period.
Notwithstanding this order, when a few months had passed, the easy and
feeble nature of Frederick V. made him forget the great loss he had
sustained, and he looked out for another queen.

Scarce six months of the twelve had elapsed, during which his subjects
were to mourn for him, when the king cast off gloom and fond remembrance
by marrying the Princess Juliana Maria of Wolfenbüttel. This princess,
the youngest of six daughters, had been educated so carefully as to
enjoy the reputation of being one of the most accomplished, princely
daughters of the time, while the fame of her beauty equalled that of her
other brilliant qualities. Her eldest and second sisters were married
respectively to Frederick the Great, and Prince Augustus William, the
heir presumptive to the Prussian throne. But this step-mother was less
able to play the part of a true mother to the bereaved royal children,
because she was the exact opposite of the departed queen in disposition.

According to the author of "Northern Courts,"[24] the new queen was
a little more than kin and less than kind. She hated the late queen's
children, and, if she had dared, would have sent them to follow their
mother to the grave. At an early age, in her father's petty court,
she was a great dabbler in political intrigues; in her temper, she
was sullen, cruel, and vindictive; extremely penurious, forgetful of
benefits, but never failing to avenge an injury tenfold; above all, a
most profound dissembler, and able to wear a smile on her face and show
all manner of civilities to the person most mortally hated, and whose
destruction, at that very moment, she might be planning.

After giving birth to a weak, deformed son, who offered a striking
contrast to Louisa's fair and white-haired boy, there is a dark rumour
that Juliana Maria so far gave way to her fury as to attempt to remove
the future heir to the throne by poison. The story is told with much
circumstantiality in the "Northern Courts," but we need not dwell on the
painful details. Suffice it for our purpose to say, that the design was
detected by Christian's faithful Norwegian nurse, and the secret was
revealed to the omnipotent minister, Count Moltke. The affair, of course,
reached the king's ears, whose feelings, from this moment, revolted
against his guilty consort. Unfortunately, for the sake of drowning his
sorrow, he fell into habits of intoxication, and the government entirely
passed into the hands of Count Moltke, who was generally known in public
by the ironical title of "King Moltke."

Nor does it appear that Juliana Maria gave up her machinations. We have
it on the highest authority[25] that she strove by gold and promises
to seduce the attendants of the child. Excursions were frequently
made on the lake behind the castle of Fredensborg, to amuse the royal
family. Christian, during one of these excursions, was more restless and
troublesome than usual; entreaties and reproaches could not make him be
quiet. A chamberlain of the name of Brockdorf, who was somewhat rough and
unpolished in his actions, threatened to throw the young prince into the
water if he would not be quiet; he really seized him by the arm, and was
so awkward and unlucky as to give the prince such a push that he fell
overboard, but was immediately saved. He never forgot this moment, and
imputed the accident to a design on his life, made by his step-mother,
that she might raise Prince Frederick to the throne. This suspicion grew
up with him, and no one was ever able to eradicate it.[26]

Far be it from my wish to condemn the queen dowager on this evidence. I
prefer to employ it in confirmation of the generally-expressed opinion
that she detested her step-children, and would have gladly secured the
throne for her own son. In any case, it is quite certain that, from the
outset, Christian's education was entrusted to improper hands. After all,
though, can we blame a mother because she anxiously interests herself
in the welfare of her own son? It is probable that many of the stories
connected with Juliana Maria rest on _ex post facto_ evidence; and though
I adhere to my opinion that she behaved with unnecessary cruelty to
Caroline Matilda when she held the latter in her power, I do not believe
that the stories which I have been compelled to bring forward against her
are more than the natural exaggerations of party spirit. For instance,
in the case of the accident in the water, how easily might that have
occurred without the slightest premeditation?

On attaining his sixth birthday, on March 31, 1755, the prince was given
his own household,--Privy Councillor von Berkentin being appointed
principal governor. He was an old gentleman fond of peace and comfort
in the highest degree, and hence the education of the prince was left
entirely to Chamberlain Detlev von Reventlow, who was appointed his
tutor. This gentleman, unfortunately, however, was an ignorant, arrogant,
ambitious, and coarse man, and treated the young and promising prince
with great harshness. He often punished his royal pupil, for trifling
offences, so inhumanly, that the foam gathered on the delicate lad's
lips; and when the poor little fellow, writhing with pain, sought help
and mercy from the wife of his torturer, he was no better treated by her.
Reventlow used to order very elegant clothes for his pupil from Paris;
he presided at his toilet, and decided on his shoes and lace; then the
austere Mentor would lead him into the court circle, saying, "I will go
and show my doll."

If we may regard it as fortunate that the prince, under such
circumstances, did not lose all inclination for learning, or sink into
a state of imbecility, the results of this treatment were not the
less injurious to him. He was endowed with wit and sense, but these
qualities soon assumed a dangerous satirical tendency, from his hearing
the incessant sarcastic observations which his tutor made about nearly
everybody else. Reventlow had a habit of speaking most irreverently of
the clergy and the Bible, though, at the same time, he was very strict
about the prince regularly attending service, and when he came out of
church, made him repeat the entire argument of the sermon. Afterwards,
Christian stated that Sunday was his greatest day of torment; and he
avenged himself, in his governor's absence, by giving extremely buffoon
parodies of some of the sermons he heard in church. Reventlow had an
amiable way of pinching him in church when his attention appeared to flag.

As an instance of Christian's sarcasm, take the following anecdotes. In
one of Frederick V.'s dipsomaniac fits, he made Count Moltke a present of
the magnificent palace of Hirschholm and all its costly furniture. The
crown prince, hearing of this lavish act, went to his study, and taking
in his hand a plan of the palace, carried it to Count Moltke, saying:
"Content yourself with this, I beseech your excellency; and believe me,
unless you possess the crown, Hirschholm shall never be yours." The
second incident displays even greater sarcasm. On another occasion,
the king desired Prince Christian to fill the glasses for himself and
the count. The prince coloured, and hesitated. The king repeated his
commands, telling him to fill for himself also; upon which, the spirited
youth just filled to the brim the glass that stood before the count, the
king's glass only half full, and into his own he poured scarce any wine.
"Heyday! what do you mean by this, Christian?" said the king. "I mean,
sire," he said, "to denote hereby our relative consequence in the state.
Count Moltke, being king and minister, I filled the glass commensurate
with his authority; you, my father, being the next person in the state
to the count, I half-filled your glass; as for myself, being of no
consequence whatever, I took no wine."[27]

"His Royal Highness," as the young prince was now addressed, received as
his instructor Nielsen, ex-governor of the pages. Bernstorff had tried
to acquire the German poet Gellert as tutor for the prince, but to the
regret of all right-minded Danes, he declined the offer, and the man
then selected for the post was very little fitted to educate a future
autocrat. According to the instructions drawn up for his guidance,
Nielsen was ordered to strive to gain his pupil's affection, so that the
latter might find pleasure in his teacher's company. He was to begin
with teaching him the Christian religion, and thus arouse in the prince
a resolution to lead a virtuous course of life. The teacher must not
strive to attain this object by making the prince learn a number of texts
by heart, but by frequent repetition of those rules of life on which
salvation and the fulfilment of Christian duties depend. The teacher must
be equally careful that the prince should be accustomed from his youth up
to pray morning and evening, and display love, obedience, and confidence
toward the Supreme Being. In all these matters the teacher would offer
his pupil a good example through the propriety of his own words and

After this had been effected, the prince would be taught to read and
understand a book, and to write a legible hand. The teacher would also
try to give him a knowledge of Latin, but before all the prince must
learn the history of the neighbouring states. The prince would make
himself acquainted with the topography of the countries from the latest
maps, as well as with the genealogy and family trees of the princes,
especially of his own ancestors, whose glorious exploits must be
frequently recited to the prince, in order to encourage him in taking
their virtuous and noble lives for his model. All this must be brought
before the young prince in amusing narratives, so that he might acquire
a taste for them. In all other matters connected with the prince's
education, however, the teacher must consult with the tutor, Herr von

These general instructions certainly contained much that was excellent,
but of what avail are the best regulations, if they are not followed?
Nielsen troubled himself but little about gaining his royal pupil's
affection, and only too willingly had recourse to Reventlow's _argumentum
baculinum_. The prince's education was neglected: he learned but
little history and philosophy, and was left in complete ignorance
of the principles of political economy. He was actually taught the
history of Denmark from a French work written by Mallet. One step in
the right direction, however, was that the Danish language, spoken in
both kingdoms, was not so neglected as it had formerly been, for the
whole _entourage_ of the prince, with the exception of the foreign
teachers, were prohibited from employing any other language than Danish
in conversing with Christian;--a rule which was carried out as well upon
Prince Frederick's birth, and was also pursued in the case of his young
sister, who was afterwards Duchess of Augustenburg.

In 1760 a change for the better was effected, by Reverdil being appointed
to instruct the prince in the French language and literature. This most
upright Vaudois, of whom even carping Voltaire was obliged to say, "On
peut avoir autant d'esprit que Reverdil, mais pas davantage," left
behind him a very valuable MS. relating to Christian VII. and his court,
which was published in 1858,[28] and throws an entirely different light
on affairs. From him we have the following account of Christian when
twelve years of age.

"The prince had a charming face: happy sallies of his were quoted: in
his education, he succeeded in all the exercises for which he felt
an interest; he spoke very pleasantly, and even elegantly, the three
languages necessary at his court:--Danish, German, and French: and he was
already a brilliant dancer. No one, in a word, even among his familiars,
saw in him aught but an amiable lad, from whom great things might be
expected, when age had slightly calmed his first impetuosity." Still,
in a very few days Reverdil perceived that if the prince was superior
to the common herd through his graces and talents, he was not the less
extraordinary in his faults. One of the most curious traits about the
prince was to desire to become strong, vigorous, and "hard," and he
imagined that he was much more favoured by nature in this respect than he
really was. Reverdil has no doubt but that this was a sign of incipient
insanity. Christian looked at his hands, and felt his stomach to discover
whether he was advancing, that is to say, whether he was progressing
toward a state of perfection which he vaguely imagined, and about which
his ideas often varied. The following explanation Christian himself
gave Reverdil some twelve years later, at the period when his mind was
completely deranged.

The king remembered that, at the age of five years, he was taken to an
Italian play, and that, struck by the stature and dress of the actors,
he had regarded them as beings of a superior species, whom he would some
day come to resemble, after undergoing numerous trials and metamorphoses.
From that time he always desired to advance: but after a while supreme
perfection appeared to him to be the possession of a perfectly hard
body,[29] a quality which was connected in his mind with the idea of
strength, at the time when Reverdil entered on his duties: for, with
strength, he could have resisted his governor, while with insensibility
he could have been pinched and beaten, without feeling pain. When in this
state of mind, the unhappy boy set but slight value on his princely rank.
He envied the lot of the shepherds whom he saw in the country, or the
gamins in the streets. He frequently imagined that he had been changed at
nurse by Frau von Schmettau, or at least that he should some day escape
the misfortune of reigning.

The utter want of tact which Reventlow displayed in the treatment of
his princely pupil, would be incredible, if we did not have it on the
authority of Reverdil. When the governor was more annoyed than usual,
he would shout through the apartments for a rod, for though its use had
almost entirely ceased, the threat of it lasted some time longer. These
wretched scenes were public, for they could be heard from the palace
yard, and were frequently continued outside the school-room. The crowd,
who came to worship the rising sun, had the object of their homage
presented to them in the shape of a very handsome and graceful boy with
tear-swollen eyes, who tried to read in his tyrant's face whom he should
address. When the circle was ended, chosen courtiers were invited to
dinner. The Mentor seized on the conversation, or at times continued his
questioning and rough treatment. The lad was thus exposed before his own
servants, and grew familiarised with shame.

We can quite understand how the poor little fellow said once to Reverdil,
"The amusements of yesterday considerably wearied my Royal Highness,"
for never did a child of such illustrious rank enjoy his privileges so
little. One day, when Count Moltke gave him a party, the governor did
not allow him to be informed of it. He feared lest the thought of the
pleasure might distract the prince's mind during lessons. The day was a
stormy one; the prince was scolded and beaten, and cried up to the hour
for the ball. All at once he was led away, without being told whither.
Fear seized on him, and was connected in his brain with his secret
manias: he imagined that he was being taken to prison. The military
honours paid him at the door, the beating of the drum, the guards round
his carriage, everything that could recall his courage, only terrified
him; his mind was disturbed for the whole night, he took no pleasure in
dancing, and several years after he reminded Reverdil of the affair with
positive terror.

The prince also made some progress in the arts. He played the piano, and
drew and danced a minuet with admirable grace. Proper attention was also
paid to his military education, according to the custom of the day, for,
in 1755, or when he was seven years old, the prince commanded a regiment
at a review.

On attaining his twelfth year, Christian passed an examination in the
presence of the ministers of state, the Bishop of Copenhagen, one of
the chaplains, and the attorney-general. In their presence the prince
answered questions, and discharged his memory of everything that blows
had accumulated in it. Every one went away satisfied: the governor was
overwhelmed with praise, the witnesses dined at court, and fancied the
prince a prodigy. Christian himself was rewarded by three days' holiday.

During the next few years Reverdil suffered a martyrdom, for he saw that
incessant efforts were made to destroy his pupil's faculties, while the
latter learned nothing that appertained to his duties as sovereign. Not
only was Christian taught nothing concerning the relations of Denmark
with foreign countries, or the mode of government employed in his own,
but he never even learned to manage his own expenses. When he ascended
the throne, he had never spent a ducat for himself. Some years previously
the king had given him a country seat: the prince had not appointed
a gardener or porter of his own, or planted a single tree. Reventlow
managed everything, and spoke very justly about "my melons and my

On March 31, 1765, Christian, after due preparation by the orthodox
Bishop Harboe, publicly made his confession of faith at confirmation,
and his behaviour and sensible answers produced a very good impression.
But for all that he was still treated as a boy, even after he had been
declared of age by the Emperor of Germany as Duke of Holstein.[30]

This was the more inexcusable, because, by the _Lex Regia_ of Denmark
the heir-apparent was declared competent to reign when he attained his
fourteenth year; and, moreover, the king's failing health promised the
latter no lengthened life. In 1757 or 1758 Frederick V. had suffered
an attack of pleurisy, the natural consequence of his excesses. The
ministers consulted clever physicians on his behalf, under an assumed
name. The reply was, that if the convalescent did not change his mode
of life, he ran a risk of a relapse, and a dropsy would end his days.
The council of state laid this consultation before the king, who was
greatly affected by it, and regretted that he had allowed his passion
to gain such a mastery over him. But those who were acquainted with the
palace secrets foresaw that the monarch would soon fall a victim to
his intemperance, and leave the throne to his son. In December, 1765,
the dropsy made such progress that the king's death appeared close
at hand. His intellectual faculties were also attacked; the monarch,
though naturally kind and affectionate, became difficult and violent.
He constantly talked about augmenting his army, and placing it on the
Prussian footing.

It is very probable that the insult offered the crown prince by keeping
him aloof from the government emanated from the king's favourite, Count
Adam Gottlob von Moltke, who would not let the reins of government out
of his hands. On the other hand, the premier had no objection to the
proposed marriage with an English princess, and the affair was taken
in hand by Count Bernstorff. The English envoy thus reported to his
court about the prince: "He has a pleasant and masculine appearance,
a distinguished and attractive form, and graciousness and affability
combined with dignity." In July, 1765, the portrait of Caroline Matilda
arrived in Copenhagen from London, and was hung up over the writing-table
of the crown prince. He gazed at it with pleasure, and evinced his
satisfaction "by expressions of delight."[31]

On the night of January 13, 1766, King Frederick V. died. It is reported
that about an hour before his death he called the prince royal to his
bedside, and, taking him by the hand, said, "My dear son, you will
soon be king of a flourishing people; but remember, that to be a great
monarch it is absolutely necessary to be a good man. Have justice and
mercy, therefore, constantly before your eyes; and, above all things,
reflect that you were born for the welfare of your country, and not your
country created for your mere emolument. In short, keep to the golden
rule of doing as you would be done by; and whenever you issue an order
as a sovereign, examine how far you would be willing to obey such an
order were you a subject yourself."[32] A more than ordinary flourish of
trumpets was raised in the English papers on the death of this monarch:
the following may serve as a sample:--

"There never appeared in any kingdom more deep and affecting sorrow for
the loss of a sovereign than now in Denmark on the death of their late
king: his reign was a perfect model for all future reigns; his lenity was
the more commendable, as the form of government gave him absolute power:
he preferred the happiness of his subjects to all the considerations
which ambition and vainglory could inspire: he was quick to reward, and
slow to punish: his bounties were royal, and his chastisements paternal:
in private life he ever appeared the true friend, the dutiful son, the
tender husband, the good father, and the generous master."

The real truth of matters was, that during the last years of Frederick's
reign, the foreign envoys had been by turns the _de facto_ rulers of
Denmark. In March, 1759, France signed a convention, by which she assured
Denmark an annual subsidy of 2,000,000 francs. These subsidies were
not paid with due punctuality during the Seven Years' War, and hence,
in the year 1763, there were arrears amounting to 2,388,897 thalers,
or about 10,400,000 livres. Gleichen, who was appointed Danish envoy
to France in that year, received instructions to effect the settlement
of the arrears, and we find, from his "Notices Biographiques," that he
succeeded in procuring the Danish court six millions of the arrears.[33]
These subsidies were paid Denmark to raise a fleet with which to protect
the Danish ships conveying munitions of war to France; but Denmark was a
heavy loser by the bargain, for the expenses not only greatly exceeded
the receipts, but the affair also rendered England very dissatisfied.[34]

According as the representatives of foreign courts had at their command
more diplomatic brutality, finesse, or money, the power was in turn
with the Russian or French envoy, at times with the English, and they
guided or ordered the Danish ministers, and through them the king. How
matters went on is seen from the fact that about fourteen hundred French
adventurers, mostly of the lowest stamp, were appointed in the Danish
civil and military service. The French envoy had recommended, among
other excellent Frenchmen, a sculptor, who set to work on a statue of
the king, which gradually cost 700,000 dollars, but was not finished.
When Frederick V. died, the country was in a hopeless state of ruin. The
army and navy were neglected, the state debt was frightfully swollen, the
taxing power of the country was exhausted, and the morals of the higher
classes were utterly corrupted, while the lower classes were sullenly
murmuring. Into this chaos of poverty, necessity, and discontent, the
youthful king, it was expected, would introduce order, and hopes were
entertained of him as the regenerator of Denmark.

On the morning of January 14, Privy Councillor von Bernstorff appeared
on the balcony of the Christiansborg palace, and declared, in the
traditional manner and with the words: "King Frederick V. is dead; King
Christian VII. is living;" the late crown prince ruler of the united
kingdoms. To which the people replied: "May he not only live long, but
reign well, like his father."

During the late king's illness, the crown prince had been very sad,
which the courtiers had regarded as a sign of sensibility; but those
who were intimate with him were aware that he was oppressed by the fear
of reigning. Reverdil inspired him with some degree of courage; and he
went through the ceremonial receptions with a grace that charmed the
entire court. No immediate change occurred in the ministry; but, for all
that, the supreme power passed into other hands. The son did not inherit
the father's great predilection for minister Moltke. On the contrary,
the young king regarded the minister as a man who had misapplied his
influence over the late king to his own selfish ends. These notions were
suggested to him by Reventlow, who, though he deserved reproach in other
respects, was honest, and hence not well disposed toward Moltke, whom he
considered the fosterer of the great extravagance which had been carried
on with the finances of the state under Frederick V.

Reventlow was so assured of his unbounded influence over the king, as to
feel convinced that he would govern the kingdom in future. In pursuance
of this, he had the drawers in his office endorsed--Denmark, Norway, the
Duchies; and showed the king this arrangement, with the remark: "Here I
shall keep the papers of the two kingdoms; and there those belonging to
the duchy." The king smiled at the impertinence, and said nothing. At
any rate, it did not cause him anger; for, ere long, he lavished marks
of favour on Reventlow and his relations. On the day of his succession,
he nominated his ex-governor chief gentleman of the bed-chamber; and a
fortnight later, on the occasion of the king's birthday, the insignia
of the Order of the Elephant, the highest in Denmark, were bestowed on
Reventlow. On the same day, the king also appointed Von Sperling, his
former page of the chamber, and a nephew of Reventlow, his third equerry.

This young gentleman possessed considerable influence over the king.
Though not distinguished by any great ability, he was a handsome man,
with an agreeable temper. From the day when the crown prince had an
establishment of his own, he had been his page, and had cleverly
contrived to acquire the friendship of his master, which he now intended
to _exploiter_ for his own advantage. According to Reverdil, this
intimacy had a very deleterious effect on the crown prince; for Sperling
was older than his master, and a thorough debauchee. He filled the
prince's mind with dangerous knowledge, and contrived to influence his
imagination and corrupt his heart.[35]

The country had no cause, either, to rejoice at the intimacy; for
Sperling, through his indulgence in sensual pleasures, offered a bad
example to the king, who, as it was, did not require example. The result
of his strict education was, that he determined, so soon as he became his
own master, to indulge in every form of vice, out of sheer obstinacy.
A more dangerous man in this respect, however, was the king's valet,
John Kirchoff. Reventlow did a real service, by removing this man from
the presence of the king. On February 11, the valet was dismissed with
a pension of 1,200 dollars, and his debts, amounting to 3,000 dollars,
were paid by the treasury. But Reventlow, hearing that Kirchoff, instead
of being grateful, was conspiring against him, ordered him to leave
Copenhagen in a week; and he proceeded to Norway.

Shortly after his accession, Christian had an idea of becoming a great
general, and imagined that he would surpass Frederick the Great. He
often regretted to his cousin, Prince Charles of Hesse, that he was
born on a throne, and believed that he could have raised himself to it
by his talents and deserts, if he had been born in the lowest class. He
had an unbridled passion for female society, but had not, as yet, found
an object on which to fix his affections. He had been imbued with very
strict religious principles, which he could not combat, and which he
consequently wished to destroy. He and Prince Charles frequently spoke
about religion; and the latter strove to soften the severity of the
king's views, by leading him back to the love of God. One afternoon, when
the prince went to Christian, he found him greatly troubled in mind,
because he had to take the communion the next morning. The prince spoke
about it as the most blessed and significant of religious rites. They
conversed for a long time, and the king was greatly affected; saying, of
his own accord, that it was impossible for Christ not to have existed,
and fulfilled, by His sacrifice, the very words of the institution of the
holy supper, for ever since Christianity had been known, every sect,
whatever might be its doctrine and heresy, had retained the sacrament.
The two young men then prayed together, and the king was greatly moved.
Going up soon after to the queen-mother, he went into her room, saying:
"Grandmamma cannot guess what we have been doing?" The queen being unable
to do so, Christian added: "We have been praying together, and were very
pious;" and then almost died of laughing.

The young king had scarce taken up his residence at Christiansborg ere
he had an affair of honour, if it may be so called, with a page of his
chamber. The latter was a very honest and good youth. The king, before
going to bed, maintained the opinion, that a king, who was at the same
time a great general, was more than another king. The other, doubtless,
willing to check the king's military ambition, thought himself obliged to
defend the contrary view. Christian became very angry; and the reasonings
of the page at length rendered the monarch so wild, that he gave his
opponent a box on the ears. The latter went the next morning to complain
to the grand chamberlain, Count Reventlow. The count was of opinion that
the affair could not be passed over in silence; and made the page write
a letter, in which he spoke strongly about the honour of a gentleman.
The letter was dated from Kiöge, to which place the page pretended that
he had retired. The king took the matter in very ill part; and Count
Reventlow coming soon after to scold him, the king was not particularly
pleased with him either. The matter ended here, and the page came back
from the room in which he was hidden,--the king having stated that he
bore no malice against the man, and that it was merely an outbreak of
vivacity against an opposition which had displeased him.

These little scenes happened daily, and aided no little in causing the
king to assume a higher tone. One day he had such a quarrel with the
grand chamberlain, that the latter almost fainted. The king then became
alarmed, and fetched a glass of water for him to drink: the chamberlain
recovered, but insisted on retiring from his post. Queen Sophia
Magdalena, who was Reventlow's great protector, sent for Prince Charles,
and begged him, on every account, to patch up this affair, which had been
carried too far on both sides. When the prince proceeded to the king, the
latter spoke first about the affair, and gave his cousin an opportunity
for representing the injury he did himself in the eyes of the public by
dismissing his old governor. The king yielded; sent for Reventlow, spoke
to him kindly, and begged him to forget the affair.

The representations which the prince was frequently obliged to make to
the king against his decided opinions, naturally rendered their daily
conversations less agreeable than at the outset. However, everything
still went on tolerably well; and the king felt that his cousin had
no other interest in what he said than the welfare of the kingdom.
But gradually disputes about religion began. The king's desire for the
society of females, and the strictness of his religious principles, were
constantly in opposition. After speaking to his dangerous friends, who
inspired him with the most relaxed principles about religion, Christian
only saw one way of escape--by breaking with his own convictions. Prince
Charles noticed this in Christian's dark humour: his love of gaiety
changed to bitter remarks, and a desire to find occasions to quarrel
about trifles. Seeing this almost insurmountable wish to break out in
debauchery, Prince Charles thought it his duty to tell the king frankly
that he could not do better than conclude, as soon as possible, his
marriage with the princess who had been promised him. Christian regarded
marriage as the greatest possible bore; but Charles, who was then engaged
to the king's sister, looked at it very differently. The king, however,
told his cousin to speak to Bernstorff on the subject; and the latter,
understanding the state of matters, resolved to hurry the royal marriage

A man, who distinguished himself in the naval history of the north,
Count Frederick von Danneskjold Samsöe,[37] a grandson of King Christian
V. and the Countess von Samsöe, who had been in the service of the
state during the early years of Frederick V.'s reign, happened to be in
Copenhagen at this time; and the young monarch ordered him to draw up a
general survey of the condition of the kingdom. The count had performed
the task by January 23. Danneskjold was a sincere friend of his country,
but of a reckless and violent character. In his exposé, he threw the
fault of the numerous defects and the mismanagement which he discovered
in the administration, upon Bernstorff, and accused that minister of
increasing the national debt. He declared that the marriage arranged with
an English princess was displeasing to the nation. Bernstorff despised
the Danes, and only appointed foreigners as officials. He favoured
luxury by protection, and had allowed the army to fall into decay. The
commercial treaty with Morocco had done the country the greatest injury;
and finally, Bernstorff had revoked a royal decree about embroidery on
clothes, and thus insulted the hereditary sovereign.

Although Count Danneskjold stood in high favour with the Queen Dowager
Sophia Magdalena, who during the early part of the new reign had great
power over the king, he was unable to overthrow Bernstorff. On the
contrary, there were many signs that Bernstorff's influence had grown
under the new king. Count St. Germain, however, was dismissed from the
presidency of the War Ministry, which he had himself established, and
Privy Councillor von Rosenkranz took his place.[38]

Bernstorff, Reventlow, and Moltke, formed from this time a triumvirate.
Twice a week the privy council of state attended the king, but rarely
left him a choice between two opinions. If the king expressed an idea
that varied from theirs, they looked serious, and offered a protest, upon
which the timid Christian at once held his tongue, and sanctioned the
measure. Of course this conduct on the part of the gentlemen displeased
the king, the more so because he had no very high opinion of them. That
he did not love Reventlow, whose rough mode of education he had not yet
forgotten, is only natural; Moltke he knew to be a man who only regarded
his own interests, while Bernstorff's vanity and cringing subserviency
were repulsive to him. To this must be added, that the wearisome way in
which the discussions were carried on horribly bored the young king; and
many were of opinion that this was purposely done by the triumvirate,
in order to disgust the king with governing. They cared very little
how Christian spent his time, or what associates he selected, so long
as there was no evident attempt to tear the power from them. For this
reason, several men of talent, whom they feared, were removed from the
king's person.

The royal family consisted, at this time, of the widows of the two last
kings,--Sophia Magdalena and Juliana Maria, the son of the latter, the
hereditary Prince Frederick, and the three princesses--Charlotte Amelia,
a sister of Christian VI., and Sophia Magdalena, and Louisa, sisters
of Christian VII. A third sister of the king, Wilhelmina Caroline, was
married to William I., Elector of Hesse Cassel.

The old queen, Sophia Magdalena, a princess of Brandenburg Kulmbach by
birth, had exercised great influence over public affairs during the
sixteen years of her husband's reign, and would have gladly done the
same now. Juliana Maria had, as yet, not interfered at all in state
affairs, although she doubtless strove to acquire influence as much as
her mother-in-law.

Reventlow, who probably felt that he was not as securely seated in power
as he would have liked, hence looked about for a supporter, and found a
most willing one in the king's grandmother. By laying aside her former
haughty demeanour, she contrived to gain considerable influence over the
king, and gave way to all his whims, in order that she might keep him
in her leading-strings. One day, the king, who was continually playing
tricks, when dining at Hirschholm took up the sugar-dredger, slipped
behind grandmamma's chair, and began sprinkling her hair.

"What is your Majesty about?" the old lady asked.

"Do not be angry with me, dearest grandmamma," the king said; "I am your
sweetest Christian, you know."

The queen smiled, and swallowed the pill in silence.

Such jokes caused the young king, even at that time, great amusement.
Once, when he was at the theatre with a circle of brilliant courtiers,
wearing his gold-embroidered admiral's uniform, he walked up and down
the back of the royal box with a grin on his face, which was always a
sign that he was meditating some trick. In one of the _entr'actes_, when
tea was handed round, a young lady was trying to cool the hot fluid by
blowing it, when the king crept up to her and blew such a blast into the
cup that its entire contents spirted about. The king quickly turned on
his heel, and laughed so heartily and childishly that the lady could not
but forgive the trick which had procured him a few merry moments.

With the summer, fresh proofs of Sophia Magdalena's powerful influence
were given. She heartily detested Count Moltke, because he had contrived
to keep her aloof from the business of the state, and she now, after
an interval of sixteen years, wished to avenge herself on him. The
favourable moment had arrived. The king did not think that Moltke had
truly served his country. Reventlow desired nothing more than the
downfall of his brother-in-law, and Bernstorff no longer required the
powerful patron who had gained him his ministerial post.

At the beginning of summer, the king, accompanied by his relatives,
visited various public resorts,--among others, the park, on St. John's
day, when a great public festival is held there annually. During a visit
which the king paid to the convent of Wallö, which was founded by Sophia
Magdalena, the latter succeeded in overthrowing the detested premier.
The order which stripped him of all his offices, except the presidency
of the Academy, was handed to him by Privy Councillor von Plessen, whom
Moltke had previously turned out of office. Moltke was dismissed without
a pension, and retired to his estate of Bregentved, which had been given
him by Frederick V.

The old queen wished to place Danneskjold Samsöe in Moltke's place. For
this object, she persuaded the king to summon him to the privy council,
and he was soon after re-appointed to his old office of "Surintendant de
la Marine," with a salary of 8,000 dollars. Rosenkrantz was also driven
into the background at the same time as Moltke, and no one regretted his

Space fails me to record all the intrigues that went on for the next
few months, or how Bernstorff was all but overthrown by the jealousy of
Danneskjold, and only owed his salvation to the generous intercession of
Reverdil and the king's latest favourite, Prince Charles of Hesse.[39]
Bernstorff was appointed Director of the Sound Dues, the most profitable
state office, and the king imparted to him the charges which Danneskjold
had brought against him. Bernstorff triumphantly refuted them, and
appeared more secure of the royal favour than ever.

It was the usage for the kings of Denmark to visit their states during
the first two years of their reign. Christian did not devote the summer
of 1766 to any journey, as he was engaged with the marriage of his two
sisters. The younger was married to Prince Charles of Hesse; the elder to
the hereditary prince of Sweden. The latter alliance was the result of an
old engagement contracted with the Swedish nation while the prince was
still a boy. The Queen of Sweden, sister of the King of Prussia, would
have gladly broken off the marriage, and given her son a princess of her
own family; but the Estates insisted. The Danish ministers would sooner
have advised war than accept such an affront.

These marriages being satisfactorily arranged, Christian VII. bethought
himself of his own wife, for whom he did not feel so great a yearning
as he had done a year previously, ere he had become his own master, and
tasted the nocturnal delights of the capital in the far from cleanly
company of his friend Von Sperling. The marriage had been originally
arranged for 1767, but Christian's ministers and friends, seeing his
tendency to libertinism, had wisely, as they thought, hurried it on.
The sober Danes were beginning to mutter about the scandals which took
place at night in the quiet streets of the Residenz. They had probably
never heard of our Prince Hal, and hence could find no excuse for the
wild sallies of their young monarch, in which he broke glasses and
furniture, attacked watchmen, and more than once was taken into custody.
Being such a roué as regards women, it appears surprising that Christian
VII. consented to marry at so early an age; but it is probable that some
latent suspicions about the designs of Juliana Maria urged him to listen
to the advice of his friends. Hence, when the news reached him that
Caroline Matilda was arriving, he hastened with a very good affectation
of lover-like eagerness to meet her.


[Footnote 21: This parallel at once proves the vital importance
of Schleswig-Holstein to the Danes. England could afford to lose
Hanover, and was not sorry to do so, as she thus escaped many German
entanglements; but to Denmark the retention of the duchies is a life
question, both politically and materially. They contain the sources of
her power and prosperity; only so long as she retains Schleswig-Holstein
can she hold her ground as a second-class power; but from the moment
that she is forced to surrender the duchies, she will hopelessly sink to
the rank of a third or fourth rate power. Indeed, it is not improbable
that she would soon be absorbed altogether, for ere long, united Sweden
and Norway would annex this small isolated fraction of Scandinavian

[Footnote 22: During Queen Louisa's life Frederick is supposed to have
only once gone astray with an Italian prima donna, the Scalabrini. The
queen-mother, however, had him supplanted in the lady's favour by Captain
Detlev von Ahlefeldt, a groom in waiting. When the king heard of it he
was furious, kicked the singing woman out at a moment's notice, and shut
the unhappy captain up for life in the fortress of Munkholm. The queen
forgave her truant, and they lived happy ever after, as the fairy stories
say. No one cared, as it seemed, for mamma's unhappy victim.]

[Footnote 23: The queen ruptured herself by suddenly stooping down, and
concealed it for several days, until excessive pain compelled her to
summon medical aid, and necessitated a painful operation, of which she

[Footnote 24: The "Northern Courts." By Mr. T. Brown. The first volume
contains a very interesting "Secret History of the Courts of Sweden and
Denmark," copied and translated from a Danish MS. found aboard the United
States merchantman the Clyde, which ship was detained off the Start by
the Dapper gunboat, and sent into Plymouth in February, 1807. As the work
has been quoted by all writers on the subject of Caroline Matilda, the
startling revelations it contains cannot be passed over by a searcher
after the truth.]

[Footnote 25: "Authentische Aufklärungen," a work translated from the
MS. of Prince Charles of Hesse, brother-in-law of Christian VII., by
Councillor of Legation Sturtz. It was also translated into English by Mr.

[Footnote 26: "Northern Courts" adds, in confirmation of this story,
that Brockdorf, being forbidden to appear in the prince's presence, was
immediately engaged in the service of the step-queen, and placed as an
officer in her palace.]

[Footnote 27: Brown's "Northern Courts," vol. i. p. 23.]

[Footnote 28: "Struensee et la Cour de Copenhague, 1760-1772. Mémoires de
Reverdil, Conseiller d'État du Roi Chrétien VII. Paris, 1858."]

[Footnote 29: The prince had probably heard of the _Art of Passau_,
which, according to a very wide-spread superstition in Germany, consists
in rendering men hard and invulnerable by a secret incantation. Becker
alludes to it in the "Monde enchanté."]

[Footnote 30: Höst's "Udsigt over de fem forste Aar of Christian den
Syvendes Regjering."]

[Footnote 31: "Drei Hofgeschichten:" von Johann Scherr.]

[Footnote 32: "Gentleman's Magazine, February, 1766."]

[Footnote 33: "Denkwürdigkeiten des Barons Carl Heinrich von Gleichen,"
Leipzig, 1817. A very little-known book, which contains a fund of amusing
anecdotes of the eighteenth century.]

[Footnote 34: "Mémoires de Falkenskjold," p. 317.]

[Footnote 35: Reverdil adds: "Nous jetterons un voile sur les désordres
où Sperling put l'entrainer. Il en est un qui dut contribuer aux progrès
de sa démence. Dans un âge avancé il en convenait et cependant il y
retombait toujours."]

[Footnote 36: "Mémoires de mon Temps," pp. 37-38.]

[Footnote 37: The first Count of Danneskjold Samsöe was a son of
Christian V., by Sophie Amalie, daughter of Paul Mothe, a surgeon. His
daughter by his first marriage, Friderike Luise, married, on July 21,
1720, Christian Augustus, Duke of Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, which
marriage plays an important part in the Schleswig-Holstein polemics, as
regards the legitimacy of the Pretender. Christian, the present Duke of
Augustenburg, as well as his brother, Prince Frederick, also married
Countesses of Danneskjold Samsöe. A full account of the family will
be found in vol. iv. of "Bülau's Geheime Geschichten und räthselhafte
Menschen," in _art._ Natural Children of the Kings of Denmark.]

[Footnote 38: General St. Germain had been summoned to Copenhagen by
Frederick V., in 1761, when Peter III. raised a claim to the Gottorp
portion of the duchy united with the royal part of Schleswig, and menaced
Denmark with a war afloat and ashore. Saint Germain was appointed
commander-in-chief, but Catharine made a peace with Denmark on following
her murdered husband on the throne. In after life, Saint Germain was
minister-at-war to Louis XVI., and caused general dissatisfaction, by
trying to introduce the Prussian regulations into the French army.]

[Footnote 39: Son of the Landgrave Frederick II. of Hesse and Mary,
daughter of George II. of England. When his father embraced the Catholic
faith, he, for fear of contagion, was placed with his brothers under
the guardianship of the Protestant kings of Great Britain, Denmark, and
Prussia. The county of Hanau was given to their mother for their support;
and when the war broke out in Hanover, the boys were sent for greater
security to Copenhagen, under the protection of Frederick V., who had
married Prince Charles's maternal aunt. I shall have repeated occasions
to allude to this prince.]




The royal couple saw each other for the first time at Roeskilde, four
(German) miles from the Danish capital, where Christian VII., accompanied
by the hereditary Prince Frederick and his own brother-in-law, Prince
Charles of Hesse, welcomed Caroline Matilda. We can easily forgive the
young king, if, at the sight of such beauty as hers, he forgot court
proprieties, and embraced and kissed his bride at Roeskilde in the
presence of the company. My readers will remember a precisely similar
instance at the meeting of a princess of Denmark and a Prince of Wales,
not so very long ago.

Judging from the mere exterior, Christian VII. ought to have produced
an equally favourable impression on the heart of Caroline Matilda.
The person of the young king, though considerably under the middle
height, was finely proportioned: light and compact, but yet possessing
a considerable degree of agility and strength. His complexion was
remarkably fair; his features, if not handsome, were regular; his eyes
blue, lively, and expressive; his hair very light; he had a good forehead
and aquiline nose; a handsome mouth and fine set of teeth. He was elegant
rather than magnificent in his dress; courteous in his manners; of a very
amorous constitution; warm and irritable in his temper; but his anger, if
soon excited, was easily appeased; and he was generous to profusion.[40]

From Roeskilde, the young queen was conducted to the palace of
Frederiksberg, close to Copenhagen, where she stopped till Nov. 8, on
which day she made her solemn entrance into the capital, seated by the
side of her sister-in-law, the Landgravine Louise, and under the escort
of all the grand dignitaries of the crown. The marriage ceremony was then
performed in the palace chapel.

The _kehraus_ was danced at the ball, and was led by Prince Charles of
Hesse, who had his wife as partner, while Christian danced with Caroline
Matilda. Suddenly the king, who was in very good spirits, shouted to
Prince Charles, "Lead the kehraus through all the apartments." He passed
through several rooms, and, on reaching the queen's ante-room, the king
ordered him to enter her rooms, which he did. Frau von Plessen, however,
rushed at Prince Charles like a dragon, and declared that he should never
enter the queen's bedroom. The king, hearing this speech, said to the
prince, "Don't bother yourself about an old woman's twaddle." The prince,
therefore, continued the dance, and passed through the queen's bedroom.
Frau von Plessen made a tremendous noise, which greatly displeased the

In honour of the day, a large silver medal was struck, which displayed
on the obverse the busts and names of the newly-married pair; and on
the reverse, an allegorical female form, reclining upon an anchor, and
holding a wreath of flowers in her hand, with the motto, "_Recurrentibus
signis_." Numerous orders and titles were distributed in commemoration of
this auspicious event.

The young queen, it is evident, won golden opinions from all manner of
men. Even the Danish author of the "Secret History" is compelled to
avow: "I saw this ill-fated princess when she first set her foot on the
soil of. Denmark. I did not join in the shouts of the multitude; but I
was charmed with her appearance. Everything she saw was grandeur and
festivity; she was received like a divinity, and almost worshipped, at
least by those of the masculine gender. Her animated, beautiful features,
her fine blue eyes, beamed with delight on all around her."

The English envoy was so delighted at Caroline Matilda's reception, that
he wrote home at once:--"The princess seems to gain approbation and
affection wherever she shows herself, and those more closely connected
with her praise unanimously and in the highest terms her disposition
and conduct." The English cabinet, however, did not put entire faith in
this enthusiasm. The youth of the princess could not but cause anxiety,
because the king, her husband, was, so to speak, a child too. Hence the
court of St. James sent the British agent the following warning advice
in reply to the above outburst:--"Her Majesty is entering on the most
important period of her life. At so tender an age she has been sent
forth alone into a foreign distant ocean, where it will be necessary to
exercise the highest caution and good sense, and to steer with thoughtful
attention, in order that she may at the same time succeed in gaining the
love of her court and people, and maintain the dignity of the exalted
position to which Providence has summoned her."[42]

The warning was not unfounded. There are good grounds for believing that
Christian, during the period between his engagement and marriage, had
been entangled in other snares. It could hardly have been otherwise,
when we bear in mind the deleterious influences brought to bear on him,
and the temptations to which a boy who had been so severely educated
was exposed, when he found himself his own master at the unripe age of
seventeen. I do not hesitate to assert that the worst influences had been
at work on the young king's mind and senses, and the following confirms
my assertion. We have seen that the marriage took place on November 8,
and on November 25, Ogier, the sharp-sighted French envoy at Copenhagen,
considered himself justified in reporting to Paris:--"The princess
has produced hardly any impression on the king's heart, and had she
been even more amiable, she would have experienced the same fate. For,
how could she please a man who most seriously believes that it is not
fashionable (n'est pas du bon air) for a husband to love his wife?" A
pretty specimen, forsooth, of the effect of the mistress doctrine which
was omnipotent in the eighteenth century! We see that poor Christian, in
a few short months, had made frightfully rapid progress in the corruption
of his age. As Reverdil tells us, with a groan, "a royal person in his
bed appeared to him rather an object of respect than of love."[43]

The queen's household had been previously appointed, and Frau von
Plessen, daughter of Privy Councillor von Berkentin, was selected as
grand mistress so far back as August. The choice was a most unfortunate
one, for this lady, although respectable, was austere, haughty, and
decidedly in opposition.[44] Her apartments were twice a week the
meeting-place of all the malcontents, and the ministers and old
courtiers, after dining with the king, went there to lament over the
backslidings and corrupt society of the young people by whom the king was
surrounded. Still, this choice, though unwise, was not so pernicious as
that of Fräulein von Eyben as lady in waiting.

The good understanding among the other members of the royal family did
not at first appear to be disturbed by the king's marriage. It is true
that Sophia Magdalena, who was sixty-six years of age, and whose heart
was distracted between fear of God and ambition, could not thoroughly
sympathise with the girlish Caroline Matilda, but it is probable that she
was the more willing to forgive her her youth and beauty, because she did
not apprehend any political rival in her.

Juliana Maria, the king's step-mother, did not at first display any open
hostility to the young queen. That she hated her as an obstacle to the
advancement of her own son, there can be no doubt, or that she had made
various underhand efforts to prevent the marriage. She was obliged to
be cautious, however: she was not popular with the nation, and had held
no sway over her husband, who toward the end of his reign hated and
avoided a woman who was the opposite of his prematurely lost Louisa.
Hence Juliana Maria hailed Matilda as the consort of Christian VII. with
well-dissembled smiles and flattering blandishments. This task, however
painful, she performed in her best style, and if her malice had not been
so notorious, Matilda might have believed she should find an affectionate
friend--a second mother in Juliana Maria.[45]

Princess Charlotte Amelia, the king's aunt, only lived for religious
practices and charity. She inhabited the palace of Amalienborg, named
after her, in the great royal market, which is now the Academy, and the
memory of her benefactions to the poor still flourishes among the Danish
people.[46] Princess Louise, the king's dearly loved sister, had only
shortly before been married, and felt herself much too happy to envy her

After the arrival of the young queen one festival followed another,
to which the public were generally admitted, although some amusements
were reserved for the court, to which only the élite were invited. At
the commencement of Christian's reign only Danish plays and ballets
were performed at the theatre, but now the king ordered a French troupe
from Paris, who first gave their performances on the Danish stage, but
afterwards in a theatre expressly prepared for them in the Christiansborg.

On December 4, the first masquerade was given at the palace to the first
six classes, to which all the officers of the garrison and the foreign
envoys were invited. During the reign of Frederick V., jovial though it
was, no attempt had been made to introduce such mummeries, as the sober
Danes called them, but Christian considered that he could go to any

The court, yearning for amusements of every description, even resolved
to give theatrical performances, in which the king and suite played the
chief parts. Among other pieces performed was Voltaire's _Zaire_, which
exactly suited Christian's taste. It was played in the original, and the
king represented one of the principal characters with great applause.
At first, only a select circle was admitted to the performances, but,
gradually, the public were invited as well.

But while the court amused themselves, the public, generally, murmured.
At the head of the malcontents was Reventlow, who would rush into Frau
von Plessen's apartments, brandishing the bills sent in to him for
payment, and objurgating fiercely. His nephew, Von Sperling, knew how to
stir up his bile, by casting on those whom he wished to injure the mad
expenses which he had himself suggested. It was he, in fact, who most
contributed to bring into fashion theatricals and masked balls. The youth
of the king, and the ennui which began at an early period to oppress him,
supplied an excuse for these expensive amusements, which were madness in
a poor and indebted state. Still, the public might have pardoned it if
the court had managed to attract respect, for nations, though victims
to the magnificence of their sovereigns, readily forgive, and even take
a pride in lavish expenditure when they believe they share it; but the
king, indulging in the most puerile amusements, running without object
from one palace to the other, and decried by the complaints of his own
ministers about his private conduct, entirely forfeited public respect.
A proof of this was furnished during the first winter of his reign. A
building belonging to the palace, from which it was only separated by
a canal, and in which was a brewery with an immense wood store, having
caught fire, Münter,[47] a German preacher, took advantage of the
occasion to preach a sermon against the king's person and the amusements
of the court. He represented the misfortunes of the nation as being
at their height and irremediable, unless Providence granted immediate
help, and unless the warning just given produced a salutary effect. This
sermon, it is true, caused the preacher a reprimand, but it was greatly
applauded by austere persons and devotees.[48]

And what did Caroline Matilda think of her reception? An opinion can
be formed from the following interesting letter which she wrote home,
describing her voyage and arrival in Copenhagen, to her brother the Duke
of York:--

    _Copenhagen, December 25, 1766._


As this epistle will exceed the bounds of a common letter, you may call
it Travels through part of Germany and Denmark, with some cursory remarks
on the genius and manners of the people.

Our navigation, though fortunate enough, seemed to me tedious and
uncomfortable. I almost wished a contrary wind had driven me back to that
coast from which I had sailed with so much regret. Were I a man, I do
not think I should envy you the mighty post of admiral, as I am a true
coward on the main. Though I found the opposite shore very different
from that of England, in regard to populousness, agriculture, roads and
conveniences for travelling, I was glad to be safely landed, and vowed
to Neptune never to invade his empire; only wishing that he would be
graciously pleased to let me have another passage to the Queen of the
Isles. What I have seen of Germany exhibits a contrast of barren lands
and some few cultivated spots; here and there some emaciated cattle,
inhospitable forests, castles with turrets and battlements out of
repair, half inhabited by counts and barons of the Holy Empire, wretched
cottages, multitudes of soldiers, and a few husbandmen; pride and
ceremonial on one side, slavery and abjection on the other.

As for principalities, every two or three hours I entered the dominions
of a new sovereign; and, indeed, often I passed through the place of
their highnesses' residence without being able to guess that it was the
seat of these little potentates; I only judged by the antiquity of their
palaces, falling to ruins, that these princes may justly boast of a race
of illustrious progenitors, as it seemed they had lived there from time
immemorial. As we judge of everything by comparison, I observed that
there is more comfort, more elegance, more conveniency, in the villa of
a citizen of London than in these gloomy mansions, hung up with rotten
tapestries, where a serene highness _meurt d'ennui_, in all the state of
a monarch, amongst a few attendants, called master of the horse, grand
ecuyer, grand chamberlain, without appointments. There is no such thing
here as a middle class of people living in affluence and independence.

Both men and women of fashion affect to dress more rich than elegant.
The female part of the burghers' families at Hamburg and Altona dress
inconceivably fantastic. The most unhappy part of the Germans are the
tenants of the little needy princes, who squeeze them to keep up their
own grandeur. These petty sovereigns, ridiculously proud of titles,
ancestry, and show, give no sort of encouragement to the useful arts,
though industry, application, and perseverance, are the characteristics
of the German nation, especially the mechanical part of it.

The roads are almost impassable. The carriages of the nobility and gentry
infinitely worse than the stage-coaches in England; and the inns want all
the accommodations they are intended for.

You may easily imagine that the sight of a new queen, from the position
of the kingdom to the capital, brought upon my passage great crowds of
people from the adjacent towns and villages, yet I believe you may see
more on a fair day from Charing Cross to the Royal Exchange than I have
met upon the road from Altona to Copenhagen. The gentlemen and ladies who
were sent to compliment me, and increased my retinue, made no addition
to my entertainment. Besides the reservedness and gravity peculiar to
their nation, they thought it was a mark of respect and submission never
to presume to answer me but by monosyllables.

What I have seen of Danish Holstein and of the duchy of Schleswig, is
well watered, and produces plenty of corn. The inhabitants of those
countries differ little or nothing from other Germans. Some parts of
Jutland consist of barren mountains; but the valleys are, in general,
well inhabited and fruitful. The face of the country presents a number
of large forests, but I did not see a river navigable for a barge of the
same burden as those that come up the river Thames to London. Spring and
autumn are seasons scarcely known here; to the sultry heat of August
succeeds a severe winter, and the frost continues for eight months, and
with little alteration. It seems as if the soil were unfavourable to
vegetable productions, for those that have been procured for my table, at
a great expense, were unsavoury, and of the worst kind. As game is here
in plenty, and the coasts are generally well supplied with fish, I could
have lived very well on these two articles had they been better dressed,
but their cookery, which is a mixture of Danish and German ingredients,
cannot be agreeable to an English palate.

I shall not attempt to learn the language of the country, which is a
harsh dialect of the Teutonic. The little French and High-Dutch I know
will be of great service to me at court, where they are generally
spoken with a bad accent and a vicious pronunciation. The peasants,
as to property, are still in a state of vassalage; and the nobility,
who are slaves at court, tyrannize over their inferiors and tenants in
their dominions. These poor husbandmen, with such discouragements to
industry, are obliged to maintain the cavalry in victuals and lodgings;
likewise to furnish them with money. These disadvantages, added to their
natural indolence, make this valuable class of people less useful and
more needy than in free states, where they enjoy, in common with other
subjects, that freedom which is a spur to industry. You must not expect
any conveniency and accommodation in their inns; all those I found upon
the road had been provided by the court.

Copenhagen, though a small capital, makes no contemptible appearance at
a distance. All the artillery of the castles and forts, with the warlike
music of the guards and divers companies of burghers, in rich uniforms,
announced my entry into this royal residence. I was conducted, amidst
the acclamations of the inhabitants, to the palace, when the king, the
queen dowager, and Prince Frederick, her son, with the nobility of both
sexes, who had, on this occasion, displayed all their finery, received me
with extraordinary honours, according to the etiquette. The king's youth,
good nature, and levity, require no great penetration to be discerned
in his taste, amusements, and his favourites. He seems all submission
to the queen, who has got over him such an ascendancy as her arts and
ambition seem likely to preserve. Her darling son, whom she wished not to
be removed a step farther from the throne, is already proud and aspiring
like herself.

I have been more than once mortified with the superior knowledge and
experience for which the queen takes care to praise herself, and
offended at the want of respect and attention in the prince. As such
unmerited slights cannot be resented without an open rupture, I rather
bear with them than disunite the royal family, and appear the cause of
court cabals, by showing my displeasure. It seems the king teaches his
subjects, by example, the doctrine of passive obedience. Few of the
courtiers look like gentlemen; and their ladies appear, in the circle,
inanimate, like the wax figures in Westminster Abbey.

I have been lately at Frederiksborg. It is a magnificent house, built in
the modern taste, but ill-contrived, and situated in the most unhealthy
soil, in the middle of a lake. The paintings and furniture are truly

To remind me that I am mortal, I have visited the cathedral church of
Roeskilde, where the kings and queens of Denmark were formerly buried.
Several of their monuments still exist, which are, as well as this
ancient structure, of a Gothic taste.

As you flatter me with the pleasure of seeing you soon in Copenhagen, I
postpone mentioning other particulars till this agreeable interview, and
remain, with British sincerity,

    Sir, and dear brother,

    Your most affectionate sister,


       *       *       *       *       *

If any differences subsisted between the couple at this time, they did
not reach the public knowledge; and the conduct of Caroline Matilda
was that of a most devoted wife. Thus, when Christian was attacked in
April, 1767, by a scarlet fever, which was thought infectious, the queen
assiduously attended him; nor would she leave him, day or night, till
his life was out of danger. On the following May 1, their Majesties'
coronation was performed in the chapel of the Christiansborg Palace, by
the Bishop of Seeland. On this occasion, his Majesty assumed the motto
of _Gloria ex amore patriæ_. As the kings of Denmark do not receive the
crown from any other hands than their own, the ceremony of putting it
on is performed by themselves.[49] It was about this time that Prince
Charles first entertained doubts as to Christian's sanity. He imparted
his suspicions to Bernstorff, who acknowledged the truth of his remark,
for Count de St. Germain had spoken to him about it, and said: "The
king has a singular and very rare malady; in France we call it _fou de

And yet a cloud was gathering, at first no bigger than a man's hand,
which would soon overcast this apparently happy life. Frau von Plessen
strove for influence and power. If she could so contrive that Caroline
Matilda should attain as much mastery over Christian VII. as Sophia
Magdalena had held over Christian VI., she, as her confidante, would
easily be able to direct matters as she pleased. The speculating lady,
unfortunately, fancied she had discovered the best way of effecting
this, by advising the young queen to behave more reservedly towards her
husband, who--so the clever lady-in-waiting calculated--would become
all the more in love with his beautiful wife, and more indulgent to her

The inexperienced Caroline Matilda but too readily followed the advice
of her grand mistress, and hence-forward behaved with coy reserve and
assumed coldness toward her hot-blooded husband. When he wished to pay
the queen an evening visit, he was put off with various excuses, and it
was not till he had repeatedly requested an interview with his wife that
he was admitted.

Christian, whom any opposition drove to a state bordering on madness,
determined to make a tour in Holstein, where he could give way to his
propensities unchecked. The queen greatly wished to accompany her
husband, which he declined, and the first serious quarrel took place.
She was the more to be pitied, honest Reverdil tells us, because she was
_enceinte_, and, through an instinct common to nearly all wives, had
grown into an inclination for the father of her child. She attributed her
disgrace to Count von Holck, who very probably strengthened the king in
his resolution. Consequently, she insisted that he should be left behind
as well, and it was not without difficulty that she obtained so weak and
humiliating a vengeance.

Reverdil did his best to patch up this quarrel. He urged the king to
write his wife the most affectionate letters, and, as Reverdil composed
them himself, the queen was to some degree pacified. The account which
Reverdil gives us of the royal tour is very lamentable. Christian
offended the old Danish nobility by his frivolity and recklessness, while
his amusements were so puerile, and the courtiers whom he appeared to
prefer so unfitted, that very unfavourable judgments were formed of him.

While staying at Traventhal, the king talked a great deal about the
travelling scheme, which he carried out soon after. He wanted it to be
different, however, from what it really became. He would have liked to
forget business and etiquette, become a private person, and try what
success his personal qualities would obtain him in society. He strove
very hard to persuade Reverdil to accompany him across the frontier with
one valet, and it was not till the Swiss refused point blank to go that
the king gave up his design.

During Christian's absence, Caroline Matilda received a terrible shock
from the death of her beloved brother, the Duke of York. The young
prince left England in August, and proceeded to Paris, where he was
magnificently fêted. While he was in France, the Queen of Denmark wrote
him the following letter:--

_To H.R.H. Edward, Duke of York._


You are now in a kingdom that I should like to see in preference to
all the countries in Europe, though I am sure my curiosity will never
be gratified in that respect. You may, perhaps, attribute this desire
to the levity of our sex, which has a strong analogy to the volatile
genius of the French. No,--my motive is, that I should be glad to see at
home those people who have been for so many centuries past our rivals
in arts and army. Pray write to me a good account of Paris, which, I am
informed, must yield the precedency to modern London. When you go to the
south of France, I am so unreasonable as to expect another account of the
provinces. Take care of your health, and let not all the princesses of
Europe make you forget.

    Your most affectionate


       *       *       *       *       *

The duke had reached Monaco in his travels, and died there on Sept.
17, after a malignant fever which lasted fourteen days. The blow, so
unexpected, was severely felt by the whole family, and by none more
than Caroline Matilda, who had been keeping her own troubles locked in
her bosom, till she could impart them to an affectionate brother, whose
arrival she so fully expected. In the first outburst of her sorrow, she
wrote the following touching letter to her mother, the Princess Dowager
of Wales:--


Give me leave to condole with your royal highness in the loss of your
dutiful son, and my beloved brother, the Duke of York. I feel, with my
own grief, your sorrow. I beg you will convey the same sentiments to his
Majesty the King, my brother. When I reflect on the circumstances of the
untimely death of this amiable prince in a foreign land, and perhaps
deprived of the comfort and assistance he should have found in his native
country, I still more lament his fate. I am extremely concerned for your
royal highness's indisposition; but I hope this melancholy event, which
maternal tenderness cannot but severely feel, as it was ordered by the
unfathomable decrees of Providence, will be so far reconciled to your
superior understanding and piety, as to adore and to submit.

    I am, with great deference,
    Your Royal Highness's
    Respectful daughter,


       *       *       *       *       *

When the king returned from his Holstein tour, it was arranged that the
queen should drive seven or eight leagues from Copenhagen to meet him. He
received her with all the _empressement_ of which he was capable; he got
into her carriage, and those who were only imperfectly acquainted with
the state of things might imagine that he was resuming his true place.

But the conduct which the queen had before assumed in the hope of
entirely winning her husband's affection, was now dictated by resentment.
The party of Juliana Maria, who desired a separation between the couple,
had informed Caroline Matilda of her husband's conduct while absent, and
the result was a decided coldness. This produced such savageness in the
king, and he was so dissatisfied, that he complained about his consort
in the presence of his domestics. This was a famous opening for these
creatures, who took all possible trouble to direct Christian's attention
to other ladies. One of the royal runners, of the name of Hjorth, hence
said to the king one day that it would be easy to avenge himself for
the queen's coldness, as there were plenty of fair dames who would
accept the king's visits more than willingly. His Majesty only required
to keep a mistress, and such a person his most gracious master could
find at any moment. Hjorth proposed to the king a well-known Hetæra,
called "Stiefelett-Kathrine," on account of her beautiful feet, whose
acquaintance the pander had, probably, made beforehand.[50] Christian
willingly assented, saw the girl, found her pretty and insinuating, and
entered into the unfortunate connexion with her, by which he was led into
the most horrible and open profligacy.

The leader of these orgies was Count Conrad von Holck, a scampish and
good-tempered young fellow, of the same age as the king. The ministers,
who should have kept a watchful eye on everything that might have an
injurious effect on the character of the young king, were not sorry
to see the autocrat yielding to the seductive influences of his loose
favourite. But Count Conrad in no way betrayed the slightest desire to
interfere in the business of the state, and was consequently harmless.

The growing influence of this minion drove from court the only honest man
remaining at it. One evening, Holck promised Milady a box at the theatre,
and Reverdil saw her sitting above the maids of honour, who were facing
the queen. Being at the time close to Holck, the virtuous Swiss could
not refrain from speaking out. "Sir," he said, "though you may turn into
ridicule a hundred times an expression which I have frequent occasion
to repeat, I say again, that a man can be neither a good subject, nor a
good servant, who does not weep to see such a creature thus defy the
queen, and the king make himself, to the great peril of the state, the
_greluchon_ of a foreign minister." The next day Reverdil received a
written order from the king to leave Copenhagen in twenty-four hours.

The first important sign of the king's most favourable sentiments toward
the young protégé was Holck's appointment, on December 21, 1767, as Court
Marshal. From this time Count Holck managed all the festivities at court,
where comedies, balls, masquerades, and excursions followed each other
uninterruptedly. The king, however, preferred, to all these distractions,
any opportunity of yielding to his temperament without the trammels of
a court. Holck frequently gave brilliant luncheons at the Blaagard, a
castellated building outside the north gate, used at that time for all
sorts of festivities, and Christian took much pleasure in them. At night,
however, Holck accompanied the king on his visits to Milady and back
again, during which, street riots were but too frequent.

It has been urged in apology for Holck, that he did not really lead the
king into these excesses, but could not refrain from sharing in them,
through fear of incurring the king's displeasure. Moreover, he considered
his presence at these extravagances necessary, partly because he at times
succeeded in moderating the intended outrages, partly because he was able
to give the people offended by the damage sustained a secret hint that
the doer of the mischief was his most sacred Majesty the King. Only
in that way was it possible to save the king from abuse, or even from
personal violence. Holck, it is further said, did the reckless young
king a real service, because, in the end, he induced him to give up his
connexion with the notorious Milady, who had not only led the king into
illicit amours, but had also persuaded him to make nocturnal sallies
in the streets, to fight with the watchmen, and force his way into low
houses whose keepers had given her cause of offence, to break glasses,
bottles, and windows, and commit similar acts of folly. In truth, it may
have appeared evident to Holck that such almost incredible behaviour
would eventually rob the king of all respect, and expose him to the
ridicule of the nation.

It is not my intention to bring before the reader the lengthened
_chronique scandaleuse_ which I have been compelled to wade through. In
giving what I have, it was rather my purpose to offer a sketch of court
life a hundred years ago, as an introduction to an historical drama which
may seek its counterpart in vain in the world's annals.

Before concluding this chapter, space may be granted to a small paragraph
from the "Annual Register," which offers a further sign of the times:--

"Within the last few years a set of people have been discovered in
Denmark seized with a disorder of mind which is extremely dangerous to
society. This is an imagination that by committing murder, and being
afterwards condemned to die for it, they are the better able, by public
marks of repentance and conversion as they go to the scaffold, to prepare
themselves for death, and work out their own salvation. A little while
ago one of these wretches murdered a child out of the same principle. In
order, however, to take from these wretches all hope of obtaining their
end, and to extirpate the evil, the king has issued an ordinance, by
which his Majesty forbids the punishing them with death; and enacts, that
they shall be branded in the forehead with a hot iron and whipped; that
they shall afterwards be confined, for the rest of their days, in a house
of correction, in order to be kept there to hard labour; and, lastly,
that every year, on the day of their crime, they shall be whipped anew in

In order to remove the bitter taste which the perusal of the above
paragraph has doubtless left in the mouth of the reader, let me add
another of a pleasanter nature:--

"Another mark of paternal goodness of his Danish Majesty to his subjects
has appeared in the encouragement and protection extended to the Society
of Artists lately established at Copenhagen, to which he has ordered a
yearly pension of 10,000 crowns, to be issued from the royal treasury,
to be applied in supporting the necessitous, and in rewarding those who
distinguish themselves by their merit."


[Footnote 40: "Northern Courts," vol. i. p. 24.]

[Footnote 41: "Mémoires de mon Temps," dictés par S. A. le Landgrave
Charles Prince de Hesse. (Printed by the King of Denmark for private

[Footnote 42: In spite of all my efforts I have been unable to discover
the original documents. The above are, therefore, translated from
Scherr's "Drei Hofgeschichten."]

[Footnote 43: It has been mentioned that Caroline Matilda received, on
parting from her mother, a ring bearing the motto, "Bring me happiness."
Four days after the marriage the royal couple dined in state with two
hundred guests, and it was already observed that the rosy bloom on the
young queen's cheeks had disappeared. She was seen to look thoughtfully
at her ring, and sigh heavily. Her unhappiness showed itself more and
more from day to day, while the king appeared to take no notice of it.
One day, when his favourite, Count Holck, called Christian's attention to
it, he replied, "Qu'importe? it is not my fault; I believe that she has
the spleen. Passons là dessus."]

[Footnote 44: According to the "Mémoires de mon Temps," Fran von Plessen
took a very high tone with everybody, and, like another Princess Ursini,
claimed the right of pointing the arrows which the ministers were to

[Footnote 45: "Northern Courts," vol. i.]

[Footnote 46: According to the "Mémoires de mon Temps," this Princess was
constantly tormented by the king. At first she would smooth her ruffled
plumes, and smile on the king addressing her as the daughter of Frederick
IV., but at last things got so bad that she withdrew to her bedroom,
and would not come to meals. This cost the king and the royal family
dear, for she left her large property in estates and precious stones,
not to the king, as she often declared she would, but to the poor. The
final cause of her withdrawal was a terrible fright she received through
Warnstedt, the king's first page, crawling into the dining-room on all
fours, disguised as a savage. What an idea this offers of court life in
those days!]

[Footnote 47: The celebrated converter of Struensee. If we may
believe a curious pamphlet called "Sittliche Frage; warum müssten die
Königin von Dännemark, und die Grafen von Struensee und von Brandt in
Kopenhagen arretiret _u. s. w._? von einem dänischen Zuschauer gründlich
beantwortet"--this preacher was not the cleanest of men, for, some years
previously, he had been suspended for drinking, riding, joking, and

[Footnote 48: Reverdil's "Struensee," p. 74.]

[Footnote 49: "Annual Register, 1767."]

[Footnote 50: According to Reverdil, this woman was introduced to the
king by Count von Danneskjold Laurvig. She had risen from the vilest
state of prostitution to the rank of mistress of Sir John Goodricke, the
English minister appointed to Sweden, but whom French intrigues prevented
from residing at Stockholm. She was called, in consequence, _Milady_. At
this time she was the very faithless mistress of the Viennese envoy.]




On January 28, 1768, the guns of the forts and fleets of Seeland
announced the birth of a son and heir to Christian, in the future
Frederick VI. The child was sickly and feeble; but, for all that, the
public would not let themselves be robbed of an excuse for legitimate
rejoicing. As this auspicious event occurred on the evening prior to the
anniversary of the king's birthday, there was a double festivity. All
the foreign ministers waited on the king to offer their felicitations;
and two days after, the little prince was christened; having as sponsors
Queen Juliana Maria, the hereditary prince, and Frau von Berkentin, as
proxy for the babe's ailing great-aunt. The queen was attended day and
night in turn by the grand mistress, a lady-in-waiting, and the wife of
a Knight of the Elephant; the royal babe by two other ladies, according
to rank; and this continued until all the "court competent" ladies had
shared the privilege. That titles and orders should be distributed on
such an occasion, was but natural; but the influence of Count Holck was
remarkably displayed, through the numerous marks of honour bestowed on
nearly all his relations.

If Juliana Maria had formed any ambitious plans, the birth of the crown
prince must have foiled them, temporarily at least. The king's weak
constitution, the debauchery he indulged in in his youth, the perceptible
injury he had done his health, his dislike of any employment, the slight
respect his people displayed toward him,--might have fostered, in the
heart of this far-sighted woman, a hope that either the throne or the
royal authority would pass to her son sooner or later. This flattering
hope was now dispelled, and with it all the great expectations her
ambition had fed on.[51]

The administration still remained in the same hands as before, with
the exception of Count Danneskjold Samsöe. This minister had been most
unexpectedly dismissed on October 26, 1767, having fallen a victim to the
intrigues of the two Russian envoys, Saldern and Filosofow, who had a
support in Bernstorff, because with their assistance the latter had paved
the way for the exchange of the Gottorp portion of Holstein for the
counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst. Soon after, Bernstorff and Saldern
succeeded in getting rid of the second opponent of the Russian policy,
General St. Germain, to whom, on November 22, the king sent the following


Diverses raisons m'obligent à vous dispenser des soins et des peines qui
vous causent les affaires du directoire. Vous auriez tort de regarder
ceci comme une disgrâce: Je désire que vous soyez persuadé de la
confiance avec la quelle je vous remettrais l'armée s'il s'agissait de la
conduire contre l'ennemi.

    Sur ce, &c.[52]

       *       *       *       *       *

Though the general was at liberty to go to court, he did so but rarely,
and was not particular in his remarks: hence he received a second note,
to the effect that, as he did not seem pleased in Copenhagen, he had
better go and live elsewhere. By his own proposal, he received, instead
of his annual pay of 14,000 dollars, 60,000 thalers, paid once for all;
but, as he lost the money a year after by the failure of a Hamburg house,
the landgrave obtained him a pension of 4,000 dollars.

Bernstorff and Reventlow could now have come to an understanding to
share the power between them; but the latter was so incautious as to
quarrel with his old friend. The consequence was, that Bernstorff induced
the king, without any great difficulty, to deprive Reventlow, for whom
Christian had a well-founded hatred, of his post, and recall his old
opponent in his place. On February 5, 1768, Reventlow was pensioned off
on 4,000 dollars, and Count Adam Gottlob von Moltke took his former seat
in the council of state.

The dismissal of Reventlow was followed by that of his nephew, Von
Sperling, in which the king's new favourite had a good deal to say. On
the day of Reventlow's retirement, Sperling was appointed bailiff of
Hütten, in Schleswig, retaining his former salary of 1,800 thalers,
but with an order to proceed to his new post at once. On the next day
he quitted the capital, and never appeared at court again. His uncle,
however, succeeded, by the aid of Baron von Schimmelmann, in being
recalled to the council of state a fortnight after, where he was obliged
to take his seat by the side of his enemy, Moltke.

About this time the king displayed a remarkable interest in the
improvement of agriculture, which he justly regarded as the surest and
most natural source of national prosperity. _Motu proprio_, he issued a
decree on April 15, to appoint a "general commission for agriculture,"
which would be dependent on himself. Count Moltke was nominated president
of this commission; and though the old gentleman never regained the
power he had possessed under Frederick V., still he became once more one
of the most influential men in the kingdom. Reventlow took proper notice
of this fact; and as he was experienced in court intrigues, he effected a
reconciliation with his opponent, and employed his energies exclusively
in securing his regained power.

Satisfactory, to some extent, though this behaviour on the part of the
king was, his private life still continued to be a scandal and offence.
Before Reverdil left Christian, he saw the faint traces of morality he
had striven to keep up, fade away. Motives of public welfare, respect
for individuals, the necessity of being beloved and deserving the love,
and even a desire for glory, no longer worked on the king. So soon as
Reverdil's influence had expired with his absence, the king indulged in
worse extravagances than before. Milady heightened his incipient mania by
the excesses into which she led him. He was seen returning one morning,
in broad daylight, from her house in a state of intoxication. The
people soon recognised him, and pursued him with hootings and insults,
until the guards at the palace gates, by presenting arms, offered a
melancholy contrast with the preceding scene. This woman led the king
on the following nights into the streets, accompanied by one or two
persons,--valets or disguised courtiers. They insulted passers-by, and
were thrashed several times. They spent a whole night (Milady dressed as
an officer, Holck and a fourth person better disguised) in destroying
some wretched hovels, when they threw the furniture into the streets,
after beating and driving out the nymphs with their sword blades. The
watch hurried up to put a stop to it; but, on recognising the actors,
they restricted themselves to preventing the mob from defending the
oppressed. The crime of the inhabitants of these impure "kips," was
having spoken ill of Milady, their rival.

The moment was at hand, however, when even respectable persons would not
dare take this liberty. Milady induced her lover to buy her an hôtel,
create her a baroness, in short, grant her the same distinctions as so
many mistresses of his august predecessors had enjoyed. The ministers,
at length, resolved to arrest her, and implored the assistance of
Schimmelmann and Saldern. The latter accompanied them to the king, and
forced from him an order to have her removed. She was sent to Hamburg,
where the obsequious senate put her in prison. Eventually, Struensee set
her at liberty.[53]

Inside the palace, the orgies were of a different nature. The king took a
delight in being beaten by Count Holck; and it is said that the favourite
carried the correction to an extreme length, and thus obtained presents
for himself or appointments for his friends. At other times, his Majesty,
lying on the ground, represented a criminal on the wheel; one of his
favourites was the executioner, and counterfeited his movements with a
roll of paper. This amusement filled Christian's mind with gloomy ideas,
and augmented his inclination for cruelty and melancholy.

The ministry was composed in the following way after the changes already
referred to:--Baron Reedz Thott never interfered in any affairs of state
but those connected with his department; we have seen the terms on which
Reventlow and Moltke stood to each other; and the fourth minister, Count
Rosenkrantz, though in his heart an enemy of Bernstorff, did not dare to
openly oppose the premier. Bernstorff had two powerful supporters in the
Gottorp envoy, Von Saldern, and the Russian Filosofow, but was compelled
to buy their favour dearly, by giving his assent to all their cabals.
The following may serve as an example of the omnipotence of these two

When Count von Rantzau-Ascheberg, at that time commander-in-chief in
Norway, came on a journey into the neighbourhood of Copenhagen, he was
informed by a court courier that he must remain a Danish mile from
the Residenz of the king. Page of the Chamber Enevold Brandt was the
deliverer of this order from the royal cabinet. The hatred of the Russian
ambassadors against Rantzau was aroused by the circumstance that he had
taken part in the conspiracy against the life of Peter III. As, however,
he did not consider himself properly rewarded by the new rulers in
Petersburg, he quitted Russia, and had become her most embittered foe.
A letter of Saldern, quoted by Reverdil, will give an excellent idea of
the man:--

"This great trouble comes from the queen; she has lost her right arm
in Reventlow; she has still the left in Plessen, a wicked woman, but
I will also deprive her of this arm. Sperling was her paid spy, and
is a thorough scoundrel. If he had but carried on his trade with an
honourable view! but it is only jealousy of little Holck, who, in truth,
is also a scoundrel, but better at heart than Sperling. When the king
goes to the queen, she tells him he ought to be ashamed; the whole town
says that he lets himself be governed by me. She only acts thus out
of revenge, because I sent away her flea-catcher. The king tells me
all this, and we laugh at it together.... Between ourselves, Reventlow
will soon be employed again, but in some place where he can be useful.
It was necessary to humiliate him a little; had we not, we should not
have gained our ends. He is as fit for the post of governor or for the
finances as a donkey is to play the organ."

A still further proof of Russian influence and Bernstorff's servility
was offered in February, 1768. Frau von Plessen, the queen's first lady,
though not standing very high in the king's good graces, owing to her
influence over Caroline Matilda, still commanded his respect, and he
patiently endured her diatribes about his licentious life. But Count
Holck was her enemy, because she had openly said that the count was
only so obliging a court-marshal for the sake of retaining the king's
favour; and, in fact, she strove hard to remove this dangerous young man
from court. On the other hand, Holck was no less desirous of getting
rid of her constant preaching and reproof. Still the count, powerful
though he was, did not succeed in overthrowing Frau von Plessen, for she
possessed the queen's entire confidence and affection, and her Majesty
had a will of her own. At length, however, the terrible Herr von Saldern
came forward and interfered in the cabal. Frau von Plessen, by Caroline
Matilda's instigation, urged the king to free himself from the dangerous
subjection in which Saldern held him, and to treat him with greater
dignity and decision; but the king betrayed her to this man, whose pride
was deeply offended, and he did not rest till he obtained Christian's
promise to dismiss Frau von Plessen.[54]

On February 27, the king went to the palace of Frederiksborg, five
(Danish) miles from the capital, and two days after his departure Frau
von Plessen received a royal order to quit the court at once, without
previously taking leave of the queen. In obedience to the order, the
_grande maîtresse_ proceeded on the same day to her estate of Kokkedal,
situated on the Sound. When the queen heard of the removal of the _grande
maîtresse_, she opposed it, but all her objections were unheeded, and
she at length gave her consent, on condition that Frau von Berkentin,
the governess of Prince Frederick, who entertained hopes of succeeding
Frau von Plessen, and had consequently mixed herself up in the intrigue,
should also be dismissed from court.

On the night of March 5, Frau von Berkentin received orders to leave
the Christiansborg Palace before daybreak, and the capital within three
days. Two days after, Frau von Plessen was commanded to quit the kingdom,
and was not granted a pension. The vacant post of _grande maîtresse_
was bestowed on the wife of Privy Councillor von der Lühe, who did not
succeed, however, in gaining the affections of her royal mistress,
probably because she was the sister of the detested Count Holck. For a
long time past, the queen had been very angry with the court-marshal as
the king's seducer, and this dislike was naturally heightened when Holck
played so prominent a part in the dismissal of Frau von Plessen. To these
causes of dislike must be added that the young fop, puffed up with pride
and importance, at times went so far as to forget the respect he owed the

Count Holck's victory over Frau von Plessen was further glorified by
the king investing him with the star of the Dannebrog order. With this
intrigue ended the ambassadorial career of the notorious Gottorp envoy,
Herr von Saldern. On March 13, 1768, he had his farewell audience of the
king. His career was a curious one: he afterwards went as plenipotentiary
to Poland, where he rendered himself equally formidable by his imperious
disposition. In that country, so says Reverdil, he continued to receive
bribes from all parties, as he had always done. He was afterwards mixed
up in a conspiracy formed by the grand duchess of Russia against the
empress, her mother-in-law. The latter took a noble revenge by dismissing
him from her service. He still remained a Knight of the Elephant, and
owner of two free estates in that very province of Holstein where, as
bailiff, he had been accused on sufficient evidence of peculation,
embezzlement, and forgery. That Russia should select a Danish subject who
had been guilty of such offences as her envoy, proves pretty clearly what
respect was entertained for Denmark by her powerful neighbour.

During Saldern's further short stay at Copenhagen, he made himself
remarkable by employing all his influence to bring about the next episode
in the life of King Christian VII., which dealt a further blow to the
embarrassed finances.

During the reign of Frederick V., it had been proposed that the crown
prince should travel in foreign countries, but the design was not carried
out for various reasons. It is very probable that the king's increasing
libertinism suggested to the advisers of the crown a resumption of this
plan, so as to withdraw Christian from an _entourage_, who led him
into incessant follies and extravagance. It was Von Saldern who first
discussed this plan with Bernstorff, and when the other ministers were
consulted and reluctantly agreed that the king might be induced to live
more reputably through an acquaintance with other riders and courts, Von
Saldern and Bernstorff proposed to let him make a tour through Germany,
Holland, England, and France. As, however, the ministers were afraid
of the king's propensities, they urged him to take with him Count von
Bernstorff to manage affairs, and in order that money might not run
short, they appointed Baron von Schimmelmann treasurer for the journey.

This gentleman was a perfect type of the adventurer of those days. He
was a Saxon (according to others, a native of Stettin), who had first
been a lighterman on the Elbe, conveying merchandise between Dresden
and Hamburg. Eventually, he set up in business on his own account, and
became bankrupt; after awhile he managed to pay off his debts, and
turned purveyor to the Prussian armies, but, being afraid lest the King
of Prussia might learn what profits he had made, and "squeeze" him, he
retired to Altona. Denmark has always given a hearty welcome to moneyed
immigrants. Schimmelmann, moreover, possessed financial ability, and made
himself useful in a moment of distress. He made a deal of money out of
government, and bought two estates near Hamburg of the crown, and that
of Lindenburg, in Jütland, which was raised into a barony. He spent the
summer at Hamburg, with the title of plenipo. to the states of Lower
Saxony, and in winter went to Copenhagen, where he dabbled in financial
operations. In addition to the title of Baron, he had that of Grand
Treasurer, and the ribbon of the Dannebrog. He stood very well with the
Russians, who frequently made use of him.[55]

When the proposal to travel was laid before Christian, he accepted
it with delight, and Holck was no less pleased at the opportunity of
showing off. As Saldern was unable to accompany the king, he contrived
to place in his suite, as a spy and confidential agent, a Major Düring,
who had passed from the service of Russia into that of Christian, as
aide-de-camp. Saldern's real motive for urging the tour appears to have
been that, in this case, the King of Denmark could not well avoid paying
a visit to Petersburg, and complimenting the empress on the ratification
of the exchange. This hope, however, was not realized.

In the meantime, Holck continued to revel in his good fortune. He was
betrothed to Fräulein von Stockfleth, step-daughter of the bailiff of
Aggerhuus, although the young lady had not yet attained the legal age
for confirmation. The bridegroom's longing for his young bride, or her
fortune--which he very quickly spent, by the way--was so great, however,
that he obtained an order from the king to the bishop of the diocese, in
which the latter was requested, himself, to examine and confirm the young
lady, and so soon as this was done, her step-father brought the girl, who
was not fifteen years of age, to Copenhagen, in April, for the purpose of
being married to the count. But a menacing story was gathering on the
favourite's hitherto cloudless horizon.

Christian VII. found pleasure in the society of Page of the Chamber
ENEVOLD BRANDT, as well as in that of Count Conrad von Holck. This man,
who plays a principal part in the tragedy which will be presented to the
reader hereafter, was born at Copenhagen in 1738, and was consequently
thirty years of age at this time. His father was Conferenzrath Brandt,
private secretary and intendant of Queen Sophia Magdalena, and his
mother a daughter of Conferenzrath Berregaard. The father died before
his son's birth, and his mother afterwards married Baron von Söhlenthal,
administrator of the county of Rantzau, in Holstein. Young Brandt
was brought up in his step-father's house, and at an early age went
to Copenhagen, in order to attend the lectures of the celebrated
jurisconsult Kofod Ancher. In July 18, 1755, he was nominated court
page,[56] and afterwards studied at the noble academy of Soroe, where he
passed a brilliant examination in law, on September 26, 1756. On May 12,
1759, he was appointed an _assessor auscultans_ in the Danish Chancery;
on May 26, 1760, a page of the bed-chamber; and on February 24, 1767, an
assessor of the supreme court. In September of the same year he made a
tour on the Continent, and on his return met with a favourable reception
at court. Brandt was anything but good looking, and Falskenskjold
describes him to us as positively ugly. There was something repellent in
his face, which was pitted with small-pox, and his physical constitution
was as ruined as his morals. Although he could not be denied talent, his
behaviour often rendered him ridiculous. Thus, for instance, he was fond
of singing in public, though he had a weak voice; and he was equally fond
of dancing, though he cut a very awkward figure.

As page of the bed-chamber, Brandt took part in all the court
festivities. He was one of the performers in _Zaire_, and was a good deal
about the king's person; but, like all the courtiers, he was eclipsed in
the autocrat's favour by Count Holck. Either through envy, or because he
really considered the count's conduct worthy of blame, Brandt ventured
to write, on May 2, a letter of accusation to the king, in which he
very evidently displayed the intention of overthrowing the favourite.
In it, he first accused the favourite of ingratitude; "for Count Holck
leaves your Majesty at all moments, in order to amuse himself on his own
account." Not long before, his Majesty had given up a beloved object with
forced resignation, and felt deep sorrow at doing so.[57] He (Brandt) had
hurried to Schimmelmann and Holck, for the purpose of describing to them
his Majesty's great grief; which, however, had not made the slightest
impression on Holck, although his Majesty frequently sacrificed his own
amusements for Holck's sake. Hardly three months before, Holck had said
to him (Brandt) that he was terribly tired of the king, who constantly
repeated the same ideas; in short, his Majesty was unsupportable. If
Danneskjold came, the king yielded to his will, and revoked what he had
just sanctioned, and was so weak as to allow the person who last spoke to
him to be in the right. Thus Holck had expressed himself to him (Brandt),
of whom he was in his heart afraid.

This was nothing, however, in comparison with the contemptuous terms the
count employed to others about his Majesty. So long as the king remained
in his own country, a single moment would suffice to reveal everything
to his most gracious master, who would say to himself: "This man was
never devoted to me: he only pursues his own pleasure, and wishes me to
sacrifice my name and money. Though I have been so attached to this my
favourite, yet he, whose friendship and devotion I purchase with money,
whose relations I overwhelm with honours and lustre, and whom I have
raised to a position which no other man ever reached at his age; yet
this man, who pretends to be faithfully attached to me, who assumes a
character which is beyond his abilities, has only served me with feigned
love and falsehood. He has employed me to distinguish all his friends,
and I have thus given a public testimony of the power which he exercises
over me."

Assuredly his Majesty, like so many other enlightened persons, would have
made such reflections; and he (Brandt) would have awaited their result,
had his most gracious king remained in Denmark. But now the moment had
arrived to ring the alarm bell, for the king, in his impending tour,
would certainly present Count von Holck to all the nations of Europe as
the most distinguished man in Denmark, and as connected with the king by
a close friendship. But then the favourite would be put on his trial;
he would be judged; and what an opinion would be entertained about his
Majesty! The point now was not a sacrifice to be made, but solely to
regard matters as they really were. He (Brandt) implored his Majesty
not to punish Holck for his audacity. Equally incapable of thinking
as of blushing at his bad thoughts, Holck would seek a support in his
worthlessness. "But, dearest, best of kings," Brandt concluded his
charge, "be free, and do not stake your own respect before the greatest
part of Europe! Your star announces to you the admiration of the whole
world: my predictions will be fulfilled, for my head gives me the most
varied assurances of it; and, I may add, that my heart gives me still
sweeter ones."

This wretched twaddle, which Suhm has before me quoted as a moderate
proof of the mental qualities of the usually so talented Brandt, may
serve here as a specimen of the cabals and miserable intrigues that went
on at the Danish court in the reign of Christian VII. When the king had
informed his favourite of the contents of Brandt's letter, Count Holck's
papa-in-law attempted a defence in an equally worthless parody of the
denunciation, which he handed to the king. In this we find as conclusion,
that Count Holck was a young man, according to the laws of nature given
to pleasure; but he had never appealed to the king's privy purse to
defray his expenses. He had, on many occasions, aided most zealously in
executing his commissions. Brandt, however, had offended against the
duties of gratitude, friendship, and virtue; and the king's sharp eye
would be able to estimate this black conduct at its true value. Brandt
had assailed his friend, but the weapons which he employed had turned
against himself, for he had called in question his Majesty's power of
judgment. Still, it would become his Majesty to forgive the offence, for
Brandt's moderate abilities must serve as his excuse.

It is true that Brandt had as many powerful friends at court as Hoick had
enemies, for even Caroline Matilda was regarded as his protectress. But
the ministers were on Holck's side, and hence he succeeded in retaining
his master's favour. On May 4, just as Brandt was leaving the Supreme
Court, a letter written in French, and signed by the king, was handed
to him. It was to the effect, that the atrocious conduct of which he
had been guilty, the step he had dared to take, and the object of which
was plain to everybody, naturally drew down on him the king's deepest
contempt. His Majesty, therefore, ordered him to quit the capital within
twenty-four hours, and the states of the realm in eight days, under
penalty of the severest displeasure if he dared ever to return. The next
day Brandt left Copenhagen in a melancholy mood, for he had spent his own
fortune in Paris, and his step-father, Von Söhlenthal, had just died.

On the day after this court interlude King Christian quitted the capital,
in order to commence his travels in foreign parts. The queen had desired
to accompany him, but this was refused her, and she wept bitterly when he
took leave of her. In Frau von Plessen she had lost a maternal friend,
and in Frau von der Lühe, who took her place, she only saw a guardian and
spy. Hence it is not surprising that Caroline Matilda acted on the wise
resolution of living in the strictest retirement during her husband's
absence. How could she, a girl of seventeen, sympathise with the ladies
who graced or disgraced the court at that day? Among these were, in
addition to Frau von der Lühe and the maid of honour, Von Eyben, Frau von
Gähler, the Baroness von Bülow, the Melleville, and a number of other
ladies, none of whom, however, had an unsullied reputation, but all their
cavaliers and adorers.

The suite accompanying the king when he left Copenhagen consisted of
no less than fifty-six persons, among them being Von Bernstorff, the
premier, the supreme Court-Marshal Frederick von Moltke, Court-Marshal
Count Holck, and many other gentlemen of position. From Korsöer the
party sailed across the Great Belt to the island of Fühnen, where the
king met his ex-valet Kirchhoff, who, on his dismissal from court, had
been appointed customs inspector at Nyborg, and to whom Christian gave
the title of Councillor of Justice, in his delight at seeing a face he
knew. From here the journey was continued through the islands, Jütland
and Schleswig to Gottorp, where the king paid a visit to the Dowager
Margravine of Brandenburg Kulmbach,[58] widow of the late viceroy,
as whose successor the king had nominated Landgrave Charles, his
brother-in-law, prior to leaving Copenhagen. Here he remained till May
28. At the village of Bau, before Flensburg, the two Russian envoys, Von
Saldern and Filosofow, received the king, and accompanied him to the city
of Schleswig, where numerous festivities took place in honour of the
exalted guest, while diplomatic affairs were being discussed which grew
into such importance for Denmark.

When Christian VII. ascended the throne the entire kingdom was oppressed
by heavy debts, entailed by the impending war with Russia, in 1762, about
the duchies, and by the extravagance of the two last kings. Reventlow, as
first deputy of the College of Finances strove gradually to liquidate
these debts, and at first met with some success, partly by raising a
new tax, partly by employing the £100,000 which the British parliament
granted Caroline Matilda as dower. On the other hand, however, the
burial of Frederick V., and the marriage of the princesses, had entailed
great expenses on the royal treasury. Notwithstanding that the country
had been spared the customary princess tax, raised on the marriage of
princesses belonging to the royal family, there was a great difficulty
in raising the funds for the royal tour. At first 64,000 species a
month were granted for it, but this sum was not nearly sufficient for
the numerous suite, and it came out eventually that more than thrice
the amount was expended monthly. Hence an addition of 20,000 thalers a
month was demanded from Copenhagen, and the deficiency was covered by
the excessively wealthy Baron von Schimmelmann, who made a temporary
advance of 400,000 species, and afterwards paid a similar amount for
presents made by the king abroad, taking as security the import dues of
the kingdom of Norway. If we add to this sum the king's private outlay,
we may, without fear of exaggeration, assume the total expenditure on
the tour at one million and a half of dollars, or £225,000, which the
indebted states of Denmark had to pay for the unsuccessful attempt to
improve the king's morals.

In Schleswig, the king's suite was slightly reduced, as the chief page,
Von der Lühe, Count Gustavus von Holck, and the physician in ordinary,
Etats-rath von Berger, returned hence to Copenhagen. On May 29, the king,
accompanied by the two Russian envoys, proceeded to Kiel, where the
Prince-Bishop of Lübeck paid his respects to him, and Von Saldern took
leave for the very last time. In order to give this important Gottorp
minister a proof of his special satisfaction for the zeal which he had
displayed in the exchange, the king raised him and his son here to the
rank of count, under the name of Saldern Gunderoth. Bernstorff also
received the same honour.

I have said so much about this exchange and yet so little, that I will
venture on one political paragraph, especially as the matter crops up
every now and then in the papers. Charles Frederick, sovereign duke of
Holstein Gottorp, threw in his fortunes with those of Charles XII. of
Sweden, his relation, and shared his disasters. Frederick IV., king
of Denmark, robbed him of a portion of his states, and had himself
recognised as legitimate owner of them in the treaty which he concluded,
in 1720, with Sweden; but the Duke of Holstein protested against that
portion of the treaty which despoiled him; and though that prince was at
the time very feeble, the King of Denmark in vain offered him a million
of crowns to give up his rights. The house of Holstein-Gottorp eventually
acquired a formidable power in the north: a younger branch ascended
the Swedish throne, and the head of the elder branch became Emperor of
Russia, under the title of Peter III., in 1762. Peter made a claim to
his hereditary states, and was preparing to enforce it, when he was got
rid of, and Catharine, his successor, agreed to an amicable settlement of
the affair by an exchange.

It is difficult to understand why Russia gave up so magnificent a chance
of founding a maritime power as she would have had by the possession of
Holstein. So long as she held it, it would have been a _tête du pont_
by which to enter Germany, and she would not have failed to exercise
a predominant influence in Denmark. There is reason for believing
that Saldern caused Christian VII. to be regarded as a member of the
reigning house of Russia who must be treated generously; so that, feeling
himself under the beneficent influence of the imperial family to which
he belonged by blood, he might become entirely devoted to it. In any
case, the treaty by which Russia exchanged her claims on ducal Schleswig
and Holstein for the counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, which were
intended to form an appanage for a junior branch of the Holstein family,
was signed in 1768.[59]

From Kiel the king went, on the following day, to Traventhal Castle,
and thence to Ahrensburg, near Hamburg, where JOHN FREDERICK STRUENSEE,
hitherto physician of Altona, and of the lordship of Pinneberg, was
appointed surgeon in ordinary, and joined the king's suite.

On June 6, Christian VII. left his own states and sailed across the
Elbe at Zollenspicker, under the incognito of Count von Traventhal. His
reputation preceded him.[60] In consequence of Voltaire's well-known
defence of Jean Calas, King Christian had sent the poet, through
Reverdil, a handsome sum of money for the family of the victim of French
justice, and their renowned protector had sung the praises of the
benefactor in a poem which "went the round" of the press. It was stated
in it that King Christian sought unhappy persons in foreign parts because
there were none such in his own country.

It might really be believed that there were no poor in Denmark, when we
notice the abundant proofs of charity and special favour which the King
of the Danes everywhere left behind him during his tour in foreign parts.
Still, it was neither these presents nor the lustre of the throne that
produced a pleasant impression on foreigners; it was, on the contrary,
the king's personal appearance. At this period Christian seemed to have
shaken off his natural gloom, and was remarkably witty; at the same time,
he was extremely gallant and easy in his manners. Travelling evidently
had its ordinary effect on him, at least temporarily.

While his suite were sent on to Amsterdam _viâ_ Osnabrück and Münster,
the king resolved to make a détour to Hanau with Bernstorff and Holck,
and surprise his brother-in-law, Landgrave Charles, whom he had recently
appointed viceroy of the duchies, and his own dearly-beloved sister
Louise, who had just given birth to a daughter, afterwards known as
the lovely Maria, Queen of Denmark, wife of Frederick VI. Landgrave
Charles, though greatly surprised at the visit, gave the king a hearty
welcome; and they all went to Philipsruhe, where Christian spent a week
in feasting, dancing, and all sorts of amusement. With his natural
expansiveness, the king blurted out to his brother-in-law all he had on
his heart. At the first town ball Christian sate down by his side, and
said to him: "Listen to me, my dear prince, I have something to say to
you. You will hear all sorts of things that have been said about you; I
must tell you candidly I was angry with you at that time, I really do
not know why, and so I told a frightful lot of falsehoods about you to
everybody; but you must not take any notice of them, for I am now very
fond of you again." The prince, while thanking his brother-in-law for
this confidence, naturally asked, "But how was it possible that you, who
knew me so well, could act thus toward me?" to which the king replied,
"Oh! I do not know; but I was very savage with you."[61]

From Hanau the king went through Frankfort to Mainz, sailed on
the following day in a yacht down the Rhine to Coblenz, visited
Ehrenbreitstein and Rheinfels, and travelled on land from Bonn to
Cologne and Wesel. After staying two days in the latter town, he accepted
an invitation from the Hereditary Stadtholder, the Prince of Orange, to
St. Loo, and thence went straight to Amsterdam, where he rejoined his

The king remained six days in Amsterdam, thirteen at the Hague, and ten
at Brussels, being everywhere received by an enormous crowd, and honoured
by grand banquets, for which he evinced his gratitude by costly presents.

From Brussels the journey was continued _viâ_ Ghent, Bruges, and Ostend,
to Dunkirk, from which town the Princes of Croy and Robecq accompanied
the king to Calais. Here Captain Campbell was awaiting the brother-in-law
of George III. with the _Mary_ yacht, and he landed safely at Dover late
on the evening of August 10. His Danish Majesty, we read, was saluted
by the cannon of the castle, forts, and vessels of the harbour, and was
received with every possible mark of distinction and respect.


[Footnote 51: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 15.]

[Footnote 52: "Reverdil's Memoirs."]

[Footnote 53: "Reverdil's Memoirs."]

[Footnote 54: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 18.]

[Footnote 55: Reverdil.]

[Footnote 56: At the Danish court, chamberlains have the relative rank
of major-generals; pages of the chamber that of lieutenant-colonels; and
court hunting and riding pages that of captains.]

[Footnote 57: Evidently an allusion to the loss of Milady.]

[Footnote 58: Of this lady, the author of "Mémoires de mon Temps" says:
"C'était une femme admirable et d'un grand esprit; beaucoup de lecture et
beaucoup de monde."]

[Footnote 59: "Mémoires de Falckenskjold," to which the reader who
desires to know further details is respectfully referred.]

[Footnote 60: In the "Mémoires de mon Temps" we read: "Il (le roi)
manquait entièrement de l'application, mais avait beaucoup d'esprit, qui
était très vif même, avait la repartie extrêmement prompte, très gaie,
fort bonne mémoire, en un mot, un jeune homme charmant, qu'ou ne put
qu'aimer.... Il avait une passion démesurée de connaitre des femmes," &c.]

[Footnote 61: "Mémoires de mon Temps," p. 49.]




The visit of Christian VII. to England was not particularly agreeable to
George III. The English monarch, who had no taste for show and amusement,
tried to get off under pretext of the national confusions; but Christian,
who, as Walpole says, had both the obstinacy and caprices of youth, had
persisted, and came to England as a very unwelcome guest.

It cannot be doubted, too, but that George III. had been apprised of his
sister's critical and unhappy situation, of Mariana Julia's treatment of
her, and of the king's culpable neglect and forbearance.[62] Moreover,
Christian's licentious conduct, both at home and abroad, was necessarily
a horror to so good a man as his brother-in-law. Add to this, that the
king of England had recently suffered a severe domestic affliction in the
death of his second sister, H.R.H. Louisa Anne, and we shall not feel
surprised that he was unable to dissimulate his feelings toward his royal

At the outset, a marked discourtesy was shown Christian; no royal
carriages were in waiting at Dover to receive him, and he had to come
to town in hired coaches. Walpole explains in this way. "Somehow or
another, the Master of the Horse happened to be in Lincolnshire, and
the king's horses having received no orders, were too good subjects to
go and fetch a stranger king of their own heads. However, as his Danish
Majesty travels to improve himself for the good of his people, he will
go back extremely enlightened in the arts of government and morality,
by having learned that crowned heads may be reduced to ride in hackney
coaches." The official excuse for this neglect was, that Christian was so
impatient to see the famed metropolis of Great Britain, that he declined
the sumptuous state coaches, and travelled in a post-chaise.

Hearing that the clergy and corporation of Canterbury and Rochester
intended to receive him with all possible pomp, the king was almost
thrown into a passion, as he detested formalities of any sort, and was
disposed to consider the clergy, as a body, with profligate contempt.
He said to Count Bernstorff: "The last King of Denmark who entered
Canterbury laid that city in ashes, and massacred its inhabitants. Would
to Heaven they had recollected this, and let me pass quietly through
their venerable town, where our ancestors committed so many crimes!" The
count told Christian, with a smile, that the good citizens of Canterbury
would find less difficulty in forgetting the outrages suffered by their
forefathers, than in being deprived of the honour of making a speech and
kissing his royal hand.[63]

The only mark of attention shown Christian by his brother-in-law, was
in re-furnishing his suite of rooms in the Stable Yard of St. James's
Palace, at an expense of £3,000. When Count Holck first saw the palace,
he exclaimed: "By God, this will never do; it is not fit to lodge a
Christian in." According to the official report of the "Annual Register,"
the royal suite consisted of,--Count von Bernstorff, his principal
secretary of state; Baron von Schimmelmann, treasurer; Count von Moltke,
grand marshal; Count von Holck, grand master of the wardrobe; Baron von
Bülow, one of the lords of the bed-chamber; Mr. Schumacher, councillor
of conferences, private secretary; Baron von Düring, aide-de-camp; MM.
Temmler and Sturtz, councillors of embassy of the foreign office; Dr.
Struensee, physician; and several officers and servants.

So soon as Christian arrived in London he was waited on by the Earl
of Hertford and Lord Falmouth, who complimented him on his arrival.
George III., however, displayed no _empressement_ to greet his guest;
on the contrary, he behaved with a sullenness which, though it might be
justifiable, was certainly impolitic, considering the connection between
France and Denmark, which England considered as of such vital importance
to break off. As usual, Horace Walpole the indefatigable supplies the
best account of this fresh piece of scandal:--

"By another mistake, King George happened to go to Richmond about an hour
before King Christian arrived in London. An hour is exceedingly long,
and the distance to Richmond still longer; so, with all the despatch
which could possibly be made, King George could not get to his capital
till next day at noon. Then, as the road from his closet at St. James's,
to the King of Denmark's apartments on the other side of the palace,
is about thirty miles (which posterity, having no conceptions of the
prodigious extent and magnificence of St. James's, will never believe),
it was half an hour after three before his Danish Majesty's cousin could
go and return to let him know that his good brother and ally was leaving
the palace (in which they both were) to receive him at the queen's
palace, which, you know, is about a million of snail's paces from St.
James's. Notwithstanding these difficulties and unavoidable delays,
Woden, Thor, Frigga, and all the gods that watch over the kings of the
north, did bring these two invincible monarchs to each other's embraces
about half an hour after four on the same evening. They passed an hour
in projecting a royal compact, that will regulate the destiny of Europe
to latest posterity; and then, the fates so willing it, the British
prince departed for Richmond, and the Danish potentate repaired to the
widowed mansion of his royal mother-in-law, where he poured forth the
fulness of his heart in praises of the lovely bride she had bestowed upon
him, from whom nothing but the benefit of his subjects would have torn
him." Another passage from the same letter is in Horace's finest vein of

"And here let calumny blush, who has aspersed so chaste and faithful a
monarch with low amours; pretending that he has raised to a seat in his
sublime council an artisan of Hamburg, known only by repairing the soles
of buskins, because that mechanic would on no other terms consent to his
fair daughter's being honoured with majestic embraces.[64] So victorious
over his passions is this Scipio from the pole, that though on Shooter's
Hill he fell into an ambuscade, laid for him by an illustrious countess,
of blood royal herself, his Majesty, after descending from his car and
courteously greeting her, again mounted his vehicle, without being one
moment eclipsed from the eyes of the surrounding multitude."[65]

The princess dowager so overwhelmed Christian with inquiries about her
daughter, that her wearied son-in-law could not refrain from whispering
to his favourite, Holck: "Cette chère maman m'embête terriblement."
Finally, when she begged Christian to restore Frau von Plessen to the
post of grande maîtresse, the king replied, that he would not oppose it,
but would leave the court himself, as he was resolved never to live under
the same roof with Frau von Plessen again. After leaving the Princess
of Wales, the royal party attended Lady Hertford's assembly. Walpole,
who was present, says: "He only takes the title of _Altesse_ (an absurd
mezzo termine), but acts king accordingly, struts in the circle like a
cock sparrow, and does the honours of himself very civilly." But the
thing that seems to have struck Walpole most, was the subserviency of
Christian's ministers and attendants, who (as we shall see presently)
bowed as low to him at every word as if he were a Sultan Amurath.
Severest are his strictures on Bernstorff, of whom he says: "A grave old
man, running round Europe after a chit, for the sake of domineering over
a parcel of beggar Danes, when he himself is a Hanoverian, and might live
at ease on an estate he has at Mecklenburg."

On the 19th, the king had a heavy day of it, visiting Westminster Abbey,
the Tower, the Armoury, the Bank, the Mint, and St. Paul's Cathedral,
where he ascended to the golden gallery. On the same evening, H.R.H. the
Princess Amelia entertained the King of Denmark, the Duke of Gloucester,
and upwards of three hundred of the nobility, with a grand supper, after
which was a ball,[66] at Gunnersbury House. The supper consisted of one
hundred and twenty dishes; a grand firework was played off; and the ball,
which was very splendid, ended at about three o'clock A.M. The beautiful
Lady Talbot, who was supposed to have made a great impression on
Christian's susceptible heart, wore at this ball a diamond coronet which
was estimated to be worth £80,000. It appears, from Walpole, that the
Princess Amelia felt hurt at the treatment of her nephew, and determined
to mark her sense of it by this entertainment. The king and the princess
dowager were then, in courtesy, obliged to follow her example; but, to
show how much they disliked the precedent, they left the Princess Amelia
out of their entertainments. The King of England, however, did not behave
so badly to his brother-in-law after all. He paid for his table at the
rate of £84 a day, without wines,--and that bill, we may be sure, was a
heavy one,--and supplied his sideboard with the original plate of Henry
VIII., which was always deposited in the jewel office in the Tower, and
never made use of but at a coronation. Though George disliked the man, he
respected the king.

Walpole gives us a graphic account of Christian at this time, in a letter
to George Montagu:--

"I came to town to see the Danish king. He is as diminutive as if he
came out of a kernel in the fairy tales. He is not ill made, nor weakly
made, though so small; and though his face is pale and delicate, it is
not at all ugly. Still, he has more royalty than folly in his air; and
considering he is not hearty, is as well as any one expects a king in a
puppet-show to be."

A few days after, Horace appears to have modified his opinion. I wonder
whether the corns of his self-esteem had been trodden on in the interim?

"Well then, this great king is a very little one. He has the sublime
strut of his grandfather (or a cock-sparrow), and the divine white eyes
of all his family on the mother's side. His curiosity seems to have
consisted in the original plan of travelling, for I cannot say he takes
notice of anything in particular. The mob adore and huzza him, and so
they did at the first instant. They now begin to know why, for he flings
money to them out of the window; and by the end of the week, I do not
doubt they will want to choose him for Middlesex. His court is extremely
well ordered, for they bow as low to him at every word as if his name
were Sultan Amurath. You would take his first minister for only the first
of his slaves. I hope this example, which they have been good enough to
exhibit at the Opera, will civilize us. There is, indeed, a pert young
gentleman who a little discomposes this august ceremonial; his name is
Count Holck; his age, three-and-twenty; and his post answers to one
that we had formerly in England ages ago, called in our tongue, a royal

On August 30, his Majesty arrived at Cambridge, _en route_ for York
races. The vice-chancellor at once waited on the king with the heads of
houses, and "showed him the elephant." After walking wearily through the
town and its sights, Christian got off by inviting the vice-chancellor
to supper. He arrived at York the next day with a retinue of one
hundred and twenty persons, and shirked a grand entertainment which the
mayor and corporation insisted on giving him. He returned to London
_viâ_ Manchester, where "he was particularly gratified by viewing the
stupendous works of the Duke of Bridgewater, at which he expressed both
astonishment and pleasure."

On September 4, Christian returned to town, after performing the great
feat of travelling nearly six hundred miles in seven days. On September
8, we find him, after the Opera, going to take a view of the house of
Mrs. Cornelis, in Soho Square, of which Casanova gives us such fragrant
details. The rooms had been got up "regardless of expense," more than
two thousand wax candles being lighted; and the king opened the ball
with the Duchess of Lancaster. Among the persons present, I notice the
Russian General Filosofow, but am unable to discover what had brought
that arch-intriguer to England.

On September 12, a magnificent entertainment was given Christian at Sion
House, by the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The account of the
festivities reminds us of the later days of Vauxhall, for there were
fifteen thousand coloured lamps; and the temple erected in the inner
court was ornamented with transparent paintings that had a very happy
effect. Among the company were their royal highnesses the Princess Amelia
and the Dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland.

On September 17, Christian arrived in Oxford with the principal
members of his suite, and was received in great pomp by Dr. Durell,
the vice-chancellor. After seeing all the sights, he was taken to the
theatre, where, in full convocation, the king had the honorary degree
of D.C.L. conferred upon him. The same honour befell Bernstorff,
Schimmelmann, Holck, Düring, and Bülow, while Struensee had the honorary
degree of Doctor of Physic conferred upon him, being the second foreigner
to whom this honour had been granted. I wonder how much Christian
understood of the elegant Latin speech in which Dr. Vansittart, Regius
Professor of Law, presented him? From Oxford, Christian visited Ditchley
Park, Blenheim, Buckingham, and Stow; and we can quite agree with the
polite writer in the "Annual Register," who says: "His journeyings are
so rapid, and his stay at places so short, that if he is not a youth of
more than common talents, he must have a very confused idea of what he
sees." Horace Walpole, writing to Sir H. Mann, under date September 22,
speaks very severely on this head, but, I am afraid, with more justice
than usual:

"I can tell you nothing but what you know already about the King of
Denmark hurrying from one corner of England to the other, without seeing
anything distinctly, fatiguing himself, breaking his chaise, going tired
to bed in inns, and getting up to show himself to the mob at the window.
I believe that he is a very silly lad; but the mob adore him, though he
has neither done nor said anything worth repeating; but he gives them
an opportunity of getting together, of staring, and of making foolish
observations. Then the news papers talk their own language, and call
him _a great personage_; and a great personage that comes so often in
their way seems almost one of themselves raised to the throne. At the
play of the _Provoked Wife_, he clapped whenever there was a sentence
against matrimony,--a very civil proceeding when his wife is an English

On the 19th, a very grand entertainment was given by their Majesties to
the King of Denmark at the queen's house, at which the Princess Dowager
of Wales, the Duke of Gloucester, and a great number of the nobility,
were present. Covers were laid for one hundred and seventy; and after the
entertainment there was a ball, which Christian opened at nine o'clock
with the queen; after which, George III. walked a minuet with the Duchess
of Ancaster. The King of Denmark, who always kept it up to the last, did
not retire till half-past four in the morning.

But the grandest affair of all was the dinner given to Christian by the
City. The lord mayor and aldermen proceeded in their state barges to
fetch the king from the Stairs, at New Palace Yard, and conveyed him to
Temple Stairs, where he landed, and took some refreshments offered by the
Benchers. Judging from an engraving in the "Gentleman's Magazine," the
scene on the river must have been very gay; and in those days, when the
Thames still possessed some claim to the epithet of silvery, the king
doubtless enjoyed the animated scene.

From the Temple, the king proceeded in the City state coach to the
Mansion House, preceded by the Honourable Artillery Company, and the
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the freedom of which Christian had
deigned to accept. On arrival, there was the inevitable address read by
Mr. Recorder, from which it is worth while to extract one passage, which
seems to show that the force of lying could no further go:--

"The many endearing ties which happily connect you, sir, with our most
gracious sovereign, justly entitle you to the respect and veneration
of all his Majesty's faithful subjects; but your affability and other
princely virtues, so eminently displayed during the whole course of your
residence among us, have, in a particular manner, charmed the citizens
of London, who reflect with admiration on your early and uncommon
thirst of knowledge, and your indefatigable pursuit of it by travel and
observation; the happy fruits of which, they doubt not, will be long
employed, and acknowledged within the whole extent of your influence and

Christian--I hope blushing as he did so--returned a most polite answer
in Danish, and then, no doubt, was very glad to hear dinner announced.
In the Egyptian Gallery, we read, that "His Majesty condescended to walk
quite round, so that the ladies (who made a most brilliant appearance in
the galleries) might have a full view of his royal person: and all the
gentlemen of the common council below an opportunity of personally paying
him their respects." Surely this was a heavy price to pay even for a lord
mayor's feed!

As history--at any rate since Macaulay's example--condescends, like
the elephant's trunk, to take notice of the smallest things, I may be
forgiven for quoting here the _menu_ of the remarkable dinner which took
place in honour of the occasion, which has been duly enshrined in the
"Annual Register":--

    Chickens.                                             Harrico.
    Spanish Olia.                   Turtle.           Mullets, removes.

      =O=                                                 =O=

    Tongue.                      Collops of Larded     4 Vegetables.


                                  Green Peas.
                                  Ragou Royal.
                                Green Truffles.
                            8 cold plates round.
                            Shell-fish in Jelly.
    Fillets of Hare.             Olia.                  Harrico.
            Turbots.                                 Venison.
    Small Westphalian Hams.                           4 Vegetables.
                               Perigo Pie.
                             Green Truffles.
                               Green Peas.

                             8 cold plates round.
                               Aspects, of sorts.
    Collops of Leveret.           Turtle.           Tongue removes.
             Dories.                               Venison.
            Tendrons.                            4 Vegetables.
                                Wheat Ears.
                                Godiveu Pie.
                               Green Morells.
                                 Fat Livers.

                             8 cold plates round.
                            Shell-fish in Marinade.
                              Collops of Turkey.
        Fillets of Lamb. Terene. Chickens. Soles. Venison. Westphalia Ham.
                                 Ruffes and Rees.
                                  Wheat Ears.
                                  French Pie.
                                Green Morells.
                                  Fat Livers.
                 8 grand ornamental dishes, sweet and savoury.
                            8 dishes of fine Pastry.

At eight o'clock, after the usual loyal toasts, and taking tea and coffee
in the great parlour, his Majesty and retinue took coach, and returned
to St. James's Palace amid the same crowd and acclamations, with the
addition of illuminations in almost every window, so that the people
might have the pleasure of seeing his Majesty as much as possible.

On the 24th, the poor king, who could hardly have digested the good
things of which I have just given a list, was entertained at Richmond
Lodge, by order of his Majesty King George. Some attempt at taste seems
to have been made on this occasion, for we read of a splendid temple
with festoons of flowers and emblematical pictures alluding to the arts
and sciences. The fireworks were the finest ever exhibited, and "their
Majesties and the nobility present were pleased to express their entire
satisfaction." The whole road from London to the Lodge was illuminated by
upwards of fifteen thousand Italian lamps, from three in the afternoon
till the next morning.

On October 1, the Princess of Wales gave a grand entertainment at Carlton
House in honour of Christian. It consisted of three tables, one for their
Majesties and the Princess Dowager of Wales; a second for the King of
Denmark: and fifty of the nobility; and the third for H.R.H. the Prince
of Wales and his attendants, &c. The princess dowager and the King of
Denmark had not got on at all well together, and he entirely lost her
good graces by the following piece of impertinence. The princess was
amusing herself one day with a lady of her court, to whom the King of
Denmark had presented a superb set of jewels, with telling fortunes
by the cards, and Christian said to her, "My dear mother, how do you
designate my Majesty in your pasteboard court?" "Lady ----," said the
princess with an arch smile, "calls you the King of Diamonds." "And
what do you call Holck?" Christian continued. "Oh, by a title far more
flattering; that rake is called the King of Hearts." "Then pray, my dear
mamma," said Christian, piqued by her ironical allusions, "under which of
the suits do you designate Lord Bute?" This repartee, severe as it was
unexpected, crimsoned the face of the princess, who rallied soon after,
evidently offended with her incorrigible son-in-law.[68]

While Christian was at Newmarket races, a deputation arrived from
Cambridge, begging him and his suite to accept the same degrees from
that university as from Oxford. On October 10, Christian gave a superb
masked ball at the Opera House in the Haymarket, at which no less than
two thousand five hundred of the nobility and gentry were present.
Even staid George III. could not resist the temptation, but remained
in a private box with transparent shutters. The Princess Amelia also
sat the whole time in one of the boxes, masked. Christian opened the
ball with the Duchess of Ancaster, and any one who wishes to know what
characters were represented, I can refer to the "Gentleman's Magazine,"
which contains an engraving of the ball. There was an awful squeeze
and a magnificent supper, and the value of the jewels worn on this
occasion amounted to upwards of £2,000,000. Still, the company must have
been rather mixed, for a noble duke lost his snuff-box, on which was
a portrait of the King of France, set with brilliants. The ball cost
Christian £3,000.

On the 11th, Christian held a levee at St. James's, when the nobility
took leave of him, and on the following day he bade farewell to the
royal family. On the evening before his departure, the king made a
present to the Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain, and to Lord Talbot,
Lord Steward, of a ring each, valued at £1,500, and left 1,000 guineas
to be distributed among the domestics of the king's palace. The Earl
of Holderness, Constable of Dover Castle, was appointed to attend his
Majesty until his embarkation. As a pleasing relief to this royal
extravagance, we read that just before Christian's departure, Garrick had
the honour of an interview, when the king gave him a very elegant gold
box studded with diamonds, begging him to receive it as a small mark of
the regard he had for his extraordinary talents.

On October 13, Christian went up the Medway to Chatham in the Victory,
man-of-war, and inspected the British fleet. Chance decreed that the
young officer who commanded the ship was the same Gambier who, in
1807, as Admiral of the Blue, commanded the English fleet with thirty
thousand men aboard, who landed in Zealand, carried off the Danish fleet,
plundered the arsenals, and laid one-seventh of Copenhagen in ashes.

On October 14, the king again went on board the Mary yacht at Dover,
which was to convey him to Calais. Just as he was escaping, a parting
shot was fired at him by an officer on board, in the shape of the most
execrable and mendacious verses ever written, and that is saying a good
deal. For that reason I shall quote them:--

    "The mighty Peter as the public cause
    Pursu'd with zeal, arts, sciences and laws,
    In search of knowledge travell'd Europe round,
    And carried home the treasures that he found
    His country's sire--the instrument of fate
    In giving form to a chaotic state.
    DENMARK'S young monarch, with a taste refin'd,
    Studies no less the manners of mankind;
    And while at large, he gratifies his view,
    Displays his genius and politeness too.
    Happy the people in a prince approved,
    Happy the monarch, loving and belov'd.
    Tho' fair Astræa has regained the sky,
    Her parting steps still strike the conscious eye:
    If you, like her (great prince) must disappear,
    Like her, too, leave your bright impression here.
    Thy travels o'er, renew this people's joy,
    And let thy praises young and old employ;
    Admir'd, ador'd--gild Denmark with thy fame,
    While all enjoy the honours of thy name."[69]

The king certainly had no cause to complain of the honours and
distinctions granted him in London. Artists and sculptors strove to
immortalize his memory, and engravings of him might be seen in all the
windows. But the ladies of the nobility were the most enthusiastic about
the "northern scamp," as the lovely Lady Talbot christened the youthful
King of Denmark, and in memory of whom they brought into fashion a
head-dress which was christened the "Denmark Fly."

So far we have dealt with the king's public appearance in England. His
private amusements, unfortunately, continued of the same scandalous
nature as in Copenhagen. Night after night he and Holck passed in the
most disgusting debauchery, and these rambles were generally commenced
after midnight. The king opened the ball at Sion House with his
sister-in-law, the Queen of Great Britain; he danced with the Princess
of Saxe-Gotha and the Duchess of Ancaster; and, within an hour after
quitting these scenes of royal grandeur, he would throw off his gorgeous
dress, disguise himself as a sailor, and haunt the lowest purlieus of
St. Giles's. A volume might easily be filled with the frolics and
extravagances committed while in England by this dissipated youth, and
those servile courtiers, who, to gratify the sovereign, flattered every
folly, and sought with lamentable avidity, even in the paths of infamy
and vice, the means of making themselves agreeable or useful.[70]

On the other hand, some anecdotes have been preserved, which, while
bearing testimony to the king's profuse extravagance, throw a little more
agreeable light upon his character. It is true, that he gave without
discrimination, and acted on the impulse of the moment; but it is equally
true that, whenever he saw an object of real distress, his hand went
spontaneously to his pocket, and if that chanced to be empty, his ring,
watch, or any other valuables about him, was bestowed instead of money.

The King of Denmark, on one occasion, saw a poor tradesman put into a
hackney-coach by two bailiffs, followed by his weeping wife and family,
from whom he was about to be torn, and thrown into prison. He ordered
Count Moltke to follow the coach to the Marshalsea. He paid the debt
and costs; and, setting the poor man free from every other demand, gave
him 500 dollars to enable him to begin the world anew; and, on several
other occasions he distributed considerable sums among the poor debtors
confined in the different gaols of the metropolis.[71]

A ludicrous adventure into which the king was led by his mania for going
about _incog._ is preserved for us by the author of "Northern Courts."
For a better supply of his wants, the king had caused an unlimited credit
to be opened with a very rich but penurious City merchant, under the name
of Mr. Frederikson. Dressed as private gentlemen, the king and Count
Holck went to the merchant's counting-house, and took up £4,000. The
merchant, very desirous of knowing more of such good customers, employed
a lad to watch them. Seeing the strangers enter the palace of St. James's
by a private door, he inquired of a sentry who they were, and was told
that they must belong to the King of Denmark's suite, as no other persons
were allowed to enter that way. On telling this to his master, the latter
was delighted at the prospect of thus making a handsome profit; while
his wife, equally bent on obtaining through them a view of the King
of Denmark, or at least of his apartments, suggested the propriety of
inviting them to tea, on their next visit.

This civility was really offered on the next occasion that the king
wanted money. The merchant, leaving Count Holck with his wife, took the
supposed Mr. Frederikson by the lapel of his coat, and led him a short
distance from his companion; and, after some circumlocution, asked him
plainly if the money was not for the use of Christian VII. The king, at
first, thought he was detected; but finding that not to be the case, and
that the merchant only wanted to get a share of a good thing, he resolved
to draw him on, in the hopes of amusement, and answered his question in
the affirmative. The merchant's eyes sparkled with joy at this confession.

"I am told," he said, "that Christian VII. is one of the most extravagant
and thoughtless young dogs living, and cares no more for money than
if it could be raked out of the kennel. Of course you make him pay
handsomely--you understand me?"

It was with difficulty the king could refrain from laughter, but, as
gravely as he could, he told the money-dealer that he had drawn a correct
picture of the king's character.

"And pray, sir," the merchant said, significantly, "what is the nature of
your employment?"

"My chief employment," Christian replied, "consists in dressing the king,
and looking out for amusements."

"Just the thing!" said the merchant; "then you are more likely to have

"No man has more influence with him than I have; of that be assured."

"Then of course you make a handsome profit out of these transactions?"

"Upon my word and honour, I never made a profit on any pecuniary
transaction in my life."

The merchant's face lengthened, as he turned his small eyes obliquely
towards the king. After a pause, he began on another tack.

"How does the king dispose of these sums?"

"Gives them away, sometimes in coin or bank-notes; oftener in presents of
jewellery or other precious articles."

"Hark'ee, sir," said the merchant, delighted by these confessions, "would
you not wish to make the best of your influence with the king?"

"Certainly I would."

"Then, if you will suffer me to instruct you, I will teach you how to
make fifty per cent. on the capital. Let me buy the jewels and presents."

Just at that instant one of the king's pages arrived, and desired the
clerk to call his master, who was never less disposed to be interrupted.

"Pray, sir," the messenger asked, "is not the King of Denmark in your

"The King of Denmark? No, sir, only a Mr. Frederikson."

"That is the king, the son of Frederick V. The gentleman with him is
Count Holck, master of his Majesty's wardrobe, and I am sent by the
Princess Dowager of Wales with orders to deliver this letter into his
Majesty's own hands."

The confusion of the merchant and his wife at the _dénouement_ may safely
be left to the imagination. The former disappeared, but the good-natured
king, forcing a ring on the fat finger of the latter, and desiring her to
tell her husband that Christian would never feel offended at what he had
said confidentially to Mr. Frederikson, skipped down stairs, laughing
heartily at the adventure, and regretting that it had been so suddenly
terminated. Such is the story as it is told, and I can only add, that si
non è vero, è ben trovato.

Walpole, who was prejudiced against Christian, probably because, at the
king's request, he sent him a collection of the Strawberry Hill books,
and received no answer,[72] gives a very bitter account of him in his
reign of George III., although there is a certain amount of truth in it.
He says that the Danish king was in reality an insipid boy; and there
appeared no cause for his expensive ramble, though to support it he
had laid a tax on all his placemen and pensionaries. He took notice of
nothing, took pleasure in nothing, and hurried post through most parts
of England without attention, dining and supping at seats on the road,
without giving himself time enough to remark so much of their beauties
as would flatter the great lords who treated him. This indifference was
excused in a whisper by Bernstorff, his prime minister, who attributed it
to his Majesty's extreme short sight, which Bernstorff confessed was the
great secret of the state; yet Walpole allows that the king's manner was
very civil, and though his person was diminutive and delicate, he did not
want graceful dignity.

The natural good nature of the English made them give the most favourable
construction to the motives of the king's travels, which were, in
fact, the natural consequence of his giddiness and levity. Whatever he
seemed desirous of seeing, and all the inquiries worthy of a monarch who
seeks for instruction and improvement in the arts, civilisation, and
government, were suggested by Count Bernstorff, the only man of merit
and genius in his retinue. His own inclination led him to plays, operas,
balls, and excursions of pleasure into the country, in which amusements
a sovereign may indulge occasionally, when they are intended as a
relaxation from the grand objects of useful study and information.

According to a well-informed author,[73] Christian, while in London, was
gracious and accessible, but without discernment and without dignity. The
very citizens of both sexes, who resorted daily to his apartments to see
him dine in public with his favourites, mistook him more than once for a
young girl dressed in men's clothes, whose conversation and deportment
commanded neither respect nor attention.

Really the unhappy Danes had some cause for grumbling that their
hard-earned money was squandered in so very useless a fashion.


[Footnote 62: "Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen."]

[Footnote 63: Brown's "Northern Courts," vol. i.]

[Footnote 64: There is not the least truth in this scandal, I am bound to
add, on the principle of giving even Clootie his due.]

[Footnote 65: "H. Walpole's Letters," vol. v. pp. 121-123.]

[Footnote 66: Now-a-days it is exactly _vice versâ_: first ball, and then

[Footnote 67: "Letters of H. Walpole," vol. v. pp. 128, 129.]

[Footnote 68: Brown's "Northern Courts," vol. i. p. 62.]

[Footnote 69: I have said that these lines were the worst ever written,
but I retract. The very worst will be found in a poem called _The
Masquerade_, inscribed to the King of Denmark. Here is a specimen:--

    "Reflection lent the traveller her staff,
    And hospitality began to laugh."

[Footnote 70: "Northern Courts," vol. i.]

[Footnote 71: "Memoirs of Sir R. Murray Keith," vol. i.]

[Footnote 72: "Walpoleana," vol. ii. p. 24.]

[Footnote 73: "Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen."]




Before we accompany Christian VII. to the Circæan capital of Europe, it
will not be labour ill bestowed to take a glance at the mode of conduct
pursued by his wife during his absence. We have seen that her _entourage_
did not suit her, and she therefore lived in the most perfect retirement.
Though courted by the conflicting parties which were beginning to
be formed, she joined none, and did not show the least ambition for
political power. She appeared to feel a truly maternal affection for her
child, and, in spite of remonstrances, had the infant and nurse to sleep
in her apartment. She sometimes visited, and was visited by, the queen
dowager and Prince Frederick, but generally remained in great seclusion.
The only occasion on which she took part in public festivities was
on the unveiling of the equestrian statue of the late king, which was
erected by the India Company. The queens regnant and dowager accepted
an invitation from Count Moltke to witness the ceremony from his house,
which faced the site of the statue.

The queen had grown in stature, and appeared much more womanly than when
she arrived in Denmark. The glow of robust health was on her cheek: she
frequently nursed her child, and a more interesting subject for a picture
could scarcely be conceived than this healthy and lively young queen
playing with her babe. During this state of retirement, Matilda visited
the houses of the farmers and peasants who resided near the palace;
and though she could not converse fluently with these poor grateful
people, she gained their warm hearts by her condescension in visiting
their cottages, smiling graciously on their wives and daughters, and
distributing useful presents. Thus innocently Matilda passed her time
during the travels of her wild and dissipated husband.[74]

Juliana Maria, on her side, lived in great retirement with her son
Frederick, at her château of Fredensborg.[75] The small party of
courtiers who surrounded her were attached to her more by their salaries
than any affection. It is true that the terms on which the two queens
notoriously stood to each other attracted the attention of the courtiers;
but they were still too vague and undecided for any certain plan to be
based on them. The entire decay of the queen dowager's influence on the
one hand, and the too little known character of Caroline Matilda on the
other, promised them no support, if they declared for either party.
The king, on his departure, had displayed neither the sentiments of an
obedient son nor the attention of a loving husband, and none of the
statesmen at the head of affairs appeared to be in special favour with
him. The friendship of the courtiers, which never springs up without
selfish views, and cannot last without tangible advantages, hence saw no
object that could decide their choice.[76]

One thing appears tolerably certain, that Juliana Maria, while remaining
in seclusion, neglected no opportunity for widening the breach between
the young couple. Queen Matilda, it is evident, was kept well informed
of her husband's transgressions, as the following passage, taken from a
letter to her aunt, the Princess Amelia, will show:--

"I wish the king's travels had the same laudable objects as those of
Cyrus; but I find that the chief visitors of his Majesty are musicians,
fiddlers, and other persons designed for some employments still more
inglorious: what a wretched levee! His evenings' amusements are still
more disgraceful, since delicacy and sentiment cannot be supposed to
dignify such transient gratifications. Had I not already experienced his
fickleness and levity at home, I could not have heard without emotion and
disquietude of his divers infidelities abroad. But as it is the monarch,
not the man, I received injunctions to marry, the consciousness of having
strictly adhered to my duty to his Majesty, and the respect I owe to
myself, form a secret satisfaction which neither malice nor envy can
deprive me of."

On the other hand, it appears tolerably certain that Juliana Maria
was a constant correspondent of Christian, and insinuated many things
against his wife's conduct. We are told that she went so far as to state
that the queen had been too intimate with some of her favourites, and
insinuated that several of his most faithful nobles had retired to their
estates during his absence, in order to avoid the insults of some new
men admitted to the young queen's favour. All these false and malicious
insinuations alienated the king's affection still more from his amiable
consort, who saw herself surrounded by spies who were devoted to a
dangerous enemy.[77]

Had it been possible to corrupt Christian's morals to any greater extent,
his short stay in Paris would have effected it. Since 1745, France had
been slowly and surely going down the slope that led to revolution.
Through internal and external misgovernment she had been driven nearer to
moral and social ruin, to a deficit, to utter dislocation and corruption;
but, for all that, the fifteenth Louis le Bienaimé was in excellent
case. The ancien régime, with its "gabelles," and "tailles," its "pactes
de famille" and "acquits de comptant," its "lettres de cachet," its
Bastille, and its "cages de fer," with all its frivolity, hardness of
heart, shamelessness, and recklessness, was on the point of sinking into
the last stage of atrophy; but the royal roué, money clipper, and coffee
boiler, continued to find amusement for himself.

What a scene was that presented toward the end of February, 1745, when
the Hôtel de Ville of Paris gleamed with a thousand lights, and its
halls rang with seductive music! The city gave a ball to the court,
as a return for the festivities which had accompanied the marriage of
Louis the Dauphin. France was embroiled in an unfortunate war, which
paved the way for one still more unfortunate: but the court danced.
The king alone, of all the company, seemed absent and sad; while his
wife, the poor, good Maria Leczinska, found a motive for living in her
phlegm and her piety, his "favorite declarée," the "maîtresse en titre,"
the Duchesse de Chateauroux, took it into her head to die. The haughty
noblesse of France, whom Louis XIV. had tamed, who had been corrupted
by the _rouerie_ of the Regent, and degraded by Louis XV. to the duties
of the seraglio; the nobility of France, who had accustomed themselves
to reckon among their privileges that of supplying royal concubines
"du sang et rang," were most anxious to fill up the gap left by the
deceased duchesse. But this time even the practised Duc and Maréchal de
Richelieu failed, and in vain did that charming creature, the Duchesse de
Rochechouart, display all her Hebe-like charms, in the hope of succeeding
the Chateauroux. It was decreed that the French aristocracy should lose
one of their most precious privileges.

The Hôtel de Ville ball had attained the acme of its splendour. The
superbly decorated rooms which a few lustres later were to re-echo
saturnalia of a frightfully different nature, were crowded with
quaint and graceful maskers. Rococo was present in all the glory and
fancifulness of its refined voluptuousness, and a remarkably rich show
of feminine charms, heightened by all the coquetry of the toilette, was
offered to the choice of the royal purchaser, for the more official
object of the ball was to alleviate the "tristesse" of the lord of
France, and offer a remedy for his sadness in the form of a lovely
duchesse, comtesse, or baronesse.

Poor women of an immoral age! how many a girl, after her maid and
milliner had done their utmost, had been instructed by her mother, how
many a wife by her husband, how she should behave on this night in order
to attract and retain the king's favourable glances! For it was a sign of
an utterly corrupted epoch, that mothers considered they fulfilled a duty
in teaching their daughters to seek the highest honour in the deepest

This time, however, the plebeian rivalry was destined to bear away
the prize from the aristocrats. The Heliogabalus of France had really
forgotten his melancholy amid this abundance of beauty and seductions.
His restless eyes were at length fixed by a tall, graceful, fair-haired
girl, masked _en Amazone_, with bow and quiver on her shoulder, with
floating hair, and heaving bosom. "Charming huntress!" His most Christian
Majesty addressed her: "Happy the man who may be struck by thy arrows."
To speak in the style of the Academy, this was a splendid moment to
fire a dart into the king's heart; but whether the young Amazon had not
been properly trained, or did not take the hint, she disappeared among
the crowd of dancers. When on the point of pursuing her, the Bienaimé
was impeded by an English country dance, performed by a bevy of young
ladies. He devoured this "bouquet," so full of fresh charms, and, as our
authority says, "incertain, il eut voulu les posséder toutes." The king
went further, and surveyed at the end of the room the amphitheatrical
daïs on which "les femmes de médiocre condition" were seated. Here, too,
his Majesty found much to look at, much to admire; till a female mask
forced her way through the beautiful crowd, and teased the king with
masquerade freedom. The graceful coquetry of this teasing attracted
Louis's curiosity: there was a grisettish _esprit_ in the words of the
beauty, something new and piquant for the worn-out roué. He begged her
to unmask, and she did so while flying, and, as she fled, she let her
handkerchief fall. The delighted king picked it up, and threw it over the
heads of the ladies to its owner. A whisper immediately ran through the
hall, "Le mouchoir est jété!"[78]

The sultan had thrown the handkerchief, but not to a perfect stranger.
He had met the beauty frequently of late: while hunting in the forest
of Sénart, she had passed him, gracefully reclining in her phaeton.
Mademoiselle Poisson, now Madame d'Etioles, the daughter of a scoundrel,
had been artistically trained by her mother to become an Odalisque. She
had so often repeated to her daughter, "Tu es un morceau de roi," that
the girl at last believed it, and prepared herself for the honour. In the
interim, she married M. d'Etioles, the rich nephew of her mother's lover,
which,--such was the nature of court morality at the period,--proved
no obstacle, but rather a motive for her future exalted position. Her
mother, with this object, negotiated with the king's first valet, Sieur
Binet, the notorious predecessor of the more notorious Lebel; and the
talent of Madame d'Etioles effected the rest.

The masked ball at the Hôtel de Ville entailed the finale. Ere long,
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was invited by his most Christian Majesty "pour
souper dans ses petits cabinets et pour coucher avec elle." Immediately
after, this woman of one-and-twenty years of age, who had been married
four years and borne her husband two children, was solemnly presented at
court under the title of a Marquise de Pompadour, to the queen, princes,
and princesses, and in due form declared "maîtresse en titre;" that
is, as matters stood, the mistress of France. Poor M. d'Etioles, "qui
idolâtrait sa femme," tried at first to be disagreeable, but was sent on
his travels, and eventually became appeased.

Everybody knows how the marquise governed France: it was she who made the
alliance with Austria and sent Prince de Soubise to Rossbach. Under her
government, France soon sank to such a point that Chesterfield, writing
home in December, 1753, from Paris, declared that he found in that city
all the signs of an impending revolution, such as are read of in history.
Poisson-Pompadour ruled, and woe to the man who tried to oppose her
autocracy: the dungeons of the Bastille or the iron cages of Mont St.
Michel received the victims to the revenge of the Babylonish woman. The
chanson and the satiric couplet alone dared to flash in the dark, and at
times darted their shafts into the innermost apartments of the omnipotent

In order to surround the _blasé_ sultan with all the varying charms
of seductiveness, the Pompadour, by Richelieu's advice, erected in
the park of Versailles a hermitage, where she tried to arouse the
blunted imagination of the roué, who had enjoyed everything and misused
everything, by dressing herself as a gardener's wife, or as a milkmaid,
or even as a nun. Nay, more: when these lures lost their charm in time,
when the mistress heard that his most Christian Majesty was tired of her,
and declared that she was as cold as a "macreuse," she assumed even more
infamous duties, and with Lebel established the Parc aux Cerfs, which
will remain an undying stain on regal France.

But even more horrible, possibly, is it to read, how the desire of
imitating the career of the Pompadour--the wish, the hope, the longing
to obtain the rank of maîtresse titrée--spread all over France, from the
pestilential court atmosphere of Versailles to every point where a pretty
girl was growing up. How shamelessly people acted in this respect, is
recorded by Casanova, in his account of Mademoiselle Roman-Coupier, of
Toulouse, who, however, only succeeded in becoming an untitled concubine.
The corruption of kings is everywhere met half way by the villany of
the nations. Regarding the matter humanly, this offers a species of
palliation for Louis XV. and his co-religionists.

Après nous le déluge! was a fearful remark, which the Pompadour, in
the intoxication of her frivolity and might, or perhaps in a moment of
agony and desperation, replied to a friend who warned her against the
future; and the deluge came, but that of terror was preceded by that of
vulgarity. The ancien régime sank, draining the cup of vice to the dregs,
from the reign of the Poisson to that of the Dubarry--that Dubarry, who,
under the name of Mademoiselle L'Ange, had wallowed in the vicious mud of
Paris ere his most Christian Majesty raised her to his couch. The lowest
of all Hetæras, stretching herself on a bed of purple silk, and at her
feet the King of France, busily engaged in boiling his mistress's coffee,
and rewarding with a laugh of pleasure her Billingsgate remarks. What a

Or, take as counterpart, the "maîtresse en titre," conversing with the
noblest ladies at court, one of whom, Madame de Beauveau, quietly replied
to the Dubarry's remark that they seemed to have a personal hatred for
her, "By no means; we should only like to be in your place--that is all."
The woman, in whose place the noblest-born ladies wished themselves,
dragged the language of the pothouse and the bagnio into the apartments
of Versailles; and Louis XV. took such a delight in this mode of
conversation, that he christened Mesdames, his four legitimate daughters,
the Princesses Sophie, Adelaide, Louise, and Victorine, "graille, chiffe,
loque, et coche."

This king even dishonoured and trailed in the mud the prestige of
royalty. What his extravagance cost France in ready money, no one
has been able to state certainly, but the lowest estimates amount to
200,000,000 of francs; and at that day, when millions could not be
conjured as they are now-a-day, a million was a large sum. But while
creatures like the Pompadour and the Dubarry had millions lavished on
them, the people, from whom the royal forestaller exacted these millions,
were starving. One day, while hunting in the forest of Sénart, the
"well-beloved" met a peasant carrying a coffin in his cart. "Where are
you taking that coffin?"--"To the village of L----." "Is it intended for
a man or a woman?"--"For a man." "What did he die of?"--"Starvation." The
king drove his spurs into his horse. Did he feel a burning within him
like the flames of Hades? I doubt it. He had only a cynical laugh for
everything, even for the monkey-tricks performed by his mistress at the
council of state. Was it surprising that the most awful things should be
believed about such a king?--that a rumour spread among the populace that
it was one of the mysteries of the Parc aux Cerfs that the king tried to
stimulate his senses by baths of children's blood?

I need hardly stop to discuss the views and morals of French society
under such a king; but a man who was a member of this society--a man who
did not reproach it, but comfortably swam with the stream of vice--shall
tell us something about it. "The gallantry which had prevailed at the
court of Louis XIV. became, in the time of the Regency, unbridled
sensuality. Under Louis XV., the gentlemen were solely engaged in
augmenting the lists of their mistresses, and the ladies in depriving
each other of their lovers with marked publicity. Husbands, compelled
to suffer what they could not prevent, without making themselves in the
highest degree ridiculous, adopted the safe remedy of no longer living
with their wives. They only met them at public resorts; but at other
times, though living under the same roof, they never came together.
Matrimony was regarded as a mere matter of money, and generally as an
inconvenience, which could only be avoided by laying aside all the duties
it entailed. Morals, it is true, were ruined by this; but good society
(_la société_) gained enormously. Freed from the constraint and coldness
which the presence of husbands and wives always produces, the liberty
was unbounded. The mutual coquetry of gentlemen and ladies enlivened
everything, and supplied every day with piquant adventures."[79]

In truth, there was no want of such piquancy as we read of in Suetonius,
Petronius, and Juvenal. Princesses behaved at night, in the garden
of the Palais Royal, in such a way as to place themselves on a level
with its professional _habituées_. Such was the case with the Duchesse
de Chartres, mother of Philippe Egalité, who was publicly told by an
offended rival: "Je n'ai pas encore éprouvé, madame, qu'on eût besoin
d'argent pour trouver des amoureux."

Or take Magdaleine de Villeroy, Duchesse de Boufflers, who contrived
to become a woman "qu'il fallait que tout homme de bon air mît sur sa
liste." In the life of this woman, perhaps the slightest scandal was that
she lived quite openly with the Maréchal de Luxembourg, while the latter,
as a compensation, just as openly placed his own wife at the disposal
of his mistress's husband. One day the Duc de Durfort, one of this
lady's countless admirers, gave her a supper, and, to amuse the company,
invited the comedian Chassé. After the lady had imbibed an inordinate
quantity of champagne, as was her wont, she so unequivocally revealed
her inclinations toward the actor that the host thought it advisable to
dismiss him. The duchesse, however, rushed, with flying hair, down the
street after him, shrieking, "Je le veux! Je le veux!"

Such were the ladies whom the Prince de Conti was justified in insulting,
by saying to Louis XV., when the latter asked him why France produced
no more marshals, "C'est qu'aujourd'hui nos femmes ont affaire à leurs
laquais." In this circle, which only lived for the lowest sensuality,
everything was degraded. Thus there was a Duc de Gesvres, who assumed the
manner and avocations of a woman; he rouged himself, wielded the fan, and
worked embroidery. Everything was brought low, everything disgraced; and
a levity of the most odious nature was displayed in religious matters.
What could the Church be and signify with persons who had seen a Dubois
made a cardinal? And was not Bernis, too, a cardinal?--the same Bernis,
christened "Suzon la Bouquetière," who once preached at the reception
of a nun of noble birth, and had the misfortune, while going into the
pulpit, to let fall a piece of paper, on which he had written a most
scandalous couplet about the novice.

As is usual in such degenerate times, the coarsest superstition was
mixed up with the most frivolous free-thinking. The spirit of religious
reform, brutally suppressed on its manifestation as Jansenism, had only
been able to penetrate the universal rottenness in the caricature of
Convulsionism. After the immoral mania of these revivalists went out of
fashion, calling up spirits and demons grew popular among the great. At
court, Saint Germain, the manufacturer of diamonds and the elixir of
life, the predecessor of the clumsy charlatan Cagliostro, was called on
to kill time for the yawning king and the Pompadour. In the Palais Royal,
Casanova erected his cabalistic pyramids of figures; and for the entire
fashionable female world, the coffee-cup of the fortune-teller Bontemps
was a Delphic oracle. With extravagance and superstition, their sister,
cruelty, naturally went hand in hand. When in March, 1757, Damiens was
executed, the fashionable ladies hurried to a nameless act of barbarism,
at their head being the pretty wife of Popelinière, the farmer-general,
who had gained a great reputation in society by a scandalous intrigue
with the sinner of sinners, the Duc de Richelieu. In order to learn what
people were capable of in the Paris of that day, the reader ought to be
acquainted with the awful sketch drawn by Casanova, the most decried but
most masterly painter of the morals of the eighteenth century, of the
execution of Damiens.

In the midst of this ocean of _boue de Paris_ there was one source of
consolation; in spite of the shame with which Soubise and his consorts
had stained the lily banner, the warlike temper of the French was not
utterly destroyed. In such an age as the one we are describing, there is
something doubly cheering in reading of that well-known trait of French
chivalry which characterises an episode of the battle of Fontenoy. The
English and French guards marched to meet each other for a combat which
would become very murderous. "Messieurs des gardes Françaises," Lord
Charles Hay shouted from the English ranks, "tirez!" "Non, my lord,"
Comte d'Auteroche replied from the French side; "nous ne tirons jamais
les prémiers."[80] And there is more than chivalrous courtesy, there is
the noblest heroism, in the circumstance that at the surprise, on 16th
October, 1760, which the hereditary prince of Brunswick attempted at
Kloster Kamp upon the Marquis de Castries, the Chevalier d'Assas, of the
Auvergne regiment, when surrounded at the outposts by the enemy, still
shouted, under the menace of a hundred bayonets, the warning cry, "A moi,
Auvergne, voilá les ennemis!"[81]

Christian landed at Calais, and though he now resumed his incognito, and
travelled as a Count of Gottorp, he was everywhere received as king. He
reached Paris on the 21st, passing through Saint Omer, Lille, Douai,
Valenciennes, and Cambrai, and lodged at the York palace, which had been
engaged for his stay in the French capital, and where he was complimented
by the Duc de Choiseul, in the name of the absent King Louis XV., and
invited to Fontainebleau.

Being now in the country whose language was most fluent and agreeable to
him, Christian VII. visited on the day after his arrival, accompanied
by the Duc de Duras, who was appointed his chevalier of honour, the
Théâtre-Français and the Grand Opéra. On the 23rd, he set out with his
whole suite for Fontainebleau, to pay his first visit to King Louis.
On his arrival, he was received at the foot of the marble staircase by
the Duc d'Orléans, greeted at the top by the Dauphin, and conducted to
the door of the royal cabinet. When he presented himself for the first
time to Louis XV., that monarch, who had never in his life been able to
address a word to a new face, embraced the King of Denmark without saying
a word to him, and turned to speak to the Count von Bernstorff, because
he had known him formerly during his embassy in France. The King of
Denmark, who felt the incongruity of this reception, at once pirouetted
on his heel and addressed the Duc de Choiseul, who soon contrived to draw
his master into the conversation begun with the young monarch.

While Von Gleichen, the Danish envoy, was negotiating with Choiseul as to
the manner in which Christian was to be received, he was urged to obtain
leave that the two monarchs should meet alone on the first interview,
that when the doors were shut the King of France should give the title
of Majesty to him of Denmark, and that afterwards the latter should
remain in the strictest incognito. M. de Choiseul answered Gleichen that,
"though he had his Majesty's commands to assent to everything requested
in the matter of etiquette, he ought to be aware that his demand was
impossible, as the King of France had never remained alone for a single
moment in his life, not even in his garderobe, and that he had no power
to expel from his chamber persons who by right of office had a claim
to remain in it." The first interview, therefore, took place in the
presence of all the chief personages, but when, on the next day, Louis
XV. returned Christian's visit, accompanied by a few princes of the blood
and his whole court, the youthful monarch ran to meet the King of France,
took his hand, and, walking very quickly, drew him into his cabinet, the
door of which he locked. All this was done so promptly, that the Duc
d'Orléans, pushed by the crowd who were eager to follow, ran against the
door, and thus Louis XV. remained alone with a stranger for the first
time in his life. The two monarchs conversed together for some time, and
were mutually charmed; but afterwards Christian said to Gleichen, "Do you
remember what you wrote us about the impossibility of a King of France
remaining alone? I succeeded better than you, for I took a pleasure in

During this interview the King of France expressed his regret that the
deep mourning for his consort, Maria Leczinska, prevented him from
celebrating the visit of his brother, at which he was greatly pleased, by
court festivities, but he had taken care that his Danish Majesty's stay
in Paris should be rendered as pleasant as possible. As he was aware that
his beloved guest was fond of theatres, he had sent his commands both
to the Comédie Française and the Opéra, that during the Danish king's
presence only such pieces should be performed as his exalted guest wished
to see.

Louis XV. conversed with the perfect courtesy of a French courtier. "In
the year 1717," he said, "my predecessor on the throne of France had the
felicity of seeing Peter the Great here, and I have great pleasure in
being able to embrace Christian the amiable. How young you are! I could
be your grandfather."

"I should esteem myself most fortunate if I were your grandson,"
Christian replied.

When the French king introduced his guest to the ladies of the court, he
noticed that Christian paid special attention to Madame de Flavecourt.
Hence he drew him on one side, and asked him,

"How old do you take that lady to be?"

"Thirty, at the most," Christian remarked.

"She is above forty," said Louis.

"A proof, sire, that people do not grow old at your court," was
Christian's flattering answer.

During the four days' stay at Fontainebleau, Struensee visited the
Galerie des Cerfs, where the degenerate daughter of Gustavus Adolphus,
after her abdication, had her lover Monaldeschi, whom she supposed to be
faithless, beheaded by three disguised accomplices. He was induced to
pay this visit by a dream, in which he saw an exalted lady, whose name
he hardly dared confess. He had returned a long time from the tour, ere
he told his brother of this dream, and how it urged him the next day to
visit the gallery. "Everything is possible," was the consolatory answer
Struensee received.

On November 3, the court celebrated the festival of St. Hubert, in which
Christian took part with his suite. The guests arrived in one thousand
five hundred carriages, and over three thousand hunters and lackeys were
called out. Naturally, Madame de Flavecourt was among the fair Amazons.

On November 13, the Prince de Monaco gave the king a ball, at which
the royal guest made the acquaintance of the Duchesse de Nevers, the
ex-actress Marie-Anne Quinault, in the dance.

Whenever the king was not impeded by other festivities, he visited the
Théâtre-Français, and for every performance sent the troupe 1,000 crowns,
so that this amusement alone cost him 20,000 crowns. At the Grand Opéra
he was most attracted by the celebrated prima donna Sophie Arnould, whom
he requested to hear thrice as Théalire, in Rameau's _Castor and Pollux_.
As a return for the pleasure which her singing and acting caused him, he
sent her, through Count Holck, an ivory fan, for which he paid Boucher
2,000 livres.

When Christian visited the celebrated porcelain factory at Sèvres, he was
shown an entire dinner service which Louis XV. intended to present to
him, each piece decorated with the arms of Denmark. On Nov. 20, Christian
was present at a sitting of the Academy, where Voisenon received him with
a piece of verses, which I will spare the reader, and only say, they
are full of the usual fulsome flattery. A resolution was then passed to
hang up the king's full-length portrait in the great hall. On the 21st,
Christian visited the Academy of Painting, when he was received by the
Marquis de Marigny, brother of Madame de Pompadour, with an address, and
on the same day the Sorbonne, where the same honours were paid him as to
Peter the Great fifty years before.

A few days later, there appeared in the _Mercure_ a versified panegyric
on the king by a member of the Académie Française, M. de Bernis,
ex-drawing-master, and afterwards archbishop, and favourite of the
Pompadour, in which we read the tolerably notorious fact that other
princes had visited the banks of the Seine before Christian. The
unfortunate James Stuart was regretted; the pious Casimir forgotten;
Peter I. admired; "mais vous, Chrétien, vous êtés adoré." In another set
of verses, I find four lines which must not be passed over. I regret that
I cannot trace their author; but they will be found in the "Almanach des
Muses" for 1769:--

    "Avec Louis le ciel vous a vu naître,
      Pour éprouver un bonheur si doux:
    Ah! Si Bourbon ne regnoit pas sur nous,
      Nous vous aurions choisi pour maître."

Really, it is difficult to decide whether France would have been a loser
by the change.

After so many compliments had been paid him by the servants of Paris,
King Christian wished to form the personal acquaintance of the most
renowned academicians of the day, and hence invited twenty of them to
dinner. Among them were d'Alembert, Diderot, Helvetius, Marmontel, la
Condamine, Voisenon, &c. The king seated himself between Diderot and
Helvetius, and spoke in terms of praise of the "Bijoux Indiscrets" of
the one, and the "Œuvres Philosophiques" of the other, and delighted
all his learned guests by his affability. Struensee was also at table,
and through his clever remarks about French literature and the Empress
of Russia, more especially attracted the admiration of his immediate
neighbours, who were Baron von Grimm, the Saxe-Coburg Envoy and
news-writer to Catharine II., the private secretary of the Duc d'Orléans,
and the playwright Saurin.

On the 24th, the king visited the parliament, when he was received by the
celebrated Advocate-General Séquier with a Latin speech, of which it is
doubtful whether he understood much. After this, Christian paid a three
days' visit to the Prince of Condé at Chantilly. This entertainment was
probably the finest of all those given to Christian. As it was free to
all persons, it was computed that there were at least six thousand guests
present, and the concourse of nobility and gentry of both sexes to it
was so prodigious, that the Rue St. Denis, which is longer than Holborn,
was so filled with carriages from end to end, that there was no passage
through it. The entertainment continued for three days and nights, during
which open house was kept for all comers, without distinction. There was
likewise a very grand hunt in the forest by torch-light. After a wild
boar had been chased for a long while, a nobleman killed it with a bow
and arrow.[83] The cost of this entertainment was defrayed by Louis XV.,
and a full account of all the festivities that took place was forwarded
to the Empress of Russia by Grimm.

Such were Christian's public performances in Paris, but his private ones
were of the same nature as in London, so far as the genius of the two
countries admitted. Ladies of high rank, flattered by the homage of the
monarch, while they despised the man, disputed the unenviable notoriety
of his attentions; and in the court of Louis XV., which was immersed in
gallantry, Christian found an example and sanction for every excess. The
two kings frequently supped together _en partie carrée_, laying aside in
mutual freedom and convivial mirth all stateliness and majesty. The time
fixed for Christian's departure made him forget the trammels of royalty;
and, in taking his leave of the French monarch, he declared Versailles
and Paris, under his Majesty's auspices, the favourite abode of Apollo,
Venus, and Minerva.[84]

Accompanied by the Comte de Noailles and the Prince de Poix, Christian
witnessed, on Dec. 6, the display of the fountains at the royal palaces
of Marly, Trianon, and Versailles; and, at the latter, was magnificently
entertained by Louis XV. in farewell.

Before he left Paris, Christian VII. offered on his return to his states
to raise a new cavalry regiment for the French service, and give the
command of it to the Duc de Duras and his descendants _in perpetuum_.
When Caroline Matilda heard of this, she wittily remarked that "the
king was a very good Frenchman, but a very bad politician." This was
communicated to Christian with many aggravating circumstances by the
emissaries of the queen dowager. Another observation attributed to the
queen on hearing of her husband's successes in Paris, that "if he had
travelled _incog._, he would have returned to his dominions with a
blank list of _bonnes fortunes_," was doubtless an invention of malice.
Probably the offer of the regiment was declined; at any rate, no trace of
it is to be found in the Danish archives.

All the poets who sang the praises of Chrétien l'adoré--and among
the panegyrics I find the following neat exception to the rule of
worthlessness, written by M. de Chamfort:--

    "Peuple a qui sa présence est chère,
    Parmi vous retenez ses pas:
    Une roi qu'on aime et qu'on révère
    A des sujets en tous climats.
    Il a beau parcourir la terre,
    Il est toujours dans ses états"--

all the artists who had counterfeited him, the sculptors who had
represented him, the actors and prima donnas who had amused him, were
rewarded with truly royal gifts. Even the Dames de la Halle, who had
employed their old privilege of handing a bouquet to crowned heads, and
whose leader also requested permission to give him a kiss, were willingly
received by the fun-loving youth.[85] When the pretty spokeswoman had
expressed her wish, he laughingly offered her first one cheek and then
the other, with the words: "Eh bien, madame, choisissez!" The clever
Parisienne, however, took the liberty of kissing both cheeks, and
received as reward 20 louis d'or. The king left a present of 6,000 livres
for the poor of Paris, though his own were starving.

On the last day of his stay in the world's capital, Christian gave the
Duc de Duras--in addition to his miniature painted by the Danish artist
Jans Juel, and set in diamonds--a gold-mounted sword of honour set with
pearls and jewels, valued at 20,000 livres. The duc's wife received a
diamond necklace, and Madame de Flavecourt, whose beauty had attracted
the king on his first arrival, a valuable suite of pearls.

The king's portrait was displayed in all the windows, and under it could
be read the lines:--

    "Les roses d'Hymen et le trône des Rois
    Ne l'ont pas retenu dans leur chaine flatteuse,
    Il voyage, il instruit sa raison lumineuse
    Par des tableaux divers et des mœurs et des lois.
    S'il s'arrête en ces lieux, séduit par notre hommage,
    Heureux peuple Danois, n'en soyez par jaloux:
    Le destin l'a formé pour regner parmi vous,
    Notre art ne peut içi fixer que son image."[86]

It is really a painful task to dispel the favourable opinion expressed of
Christian VII. in these verses, but I am bound to be impartial. Reverdil
tells us bluntly that in France, in spite of the flattery employed, and
the prejudice in the king's favour entertained by those who only caught a
transient glance of him, such persons as were in daily intercourse with
him, and were able to watch him closely, detected in him an incipience of
mania, and heard him make extravagant remarks. They also noticed that in
his moments of aberration, a glance from Holck recalled him to his senses.

After a stay of seven weeks, Christian quitted Paris on December 9,
in order to return to his own states. At Metz he allowed himself to
be detained for three days by all sorts of festivities offered him
by Maréchal d'Armentières, and proceeded thence to Strasburg, where
he arrived on the 16th, and accepted an invitation from the Elector
Carl Theodore of the Palatinate to travel _viâ_ Mannheim. On the 18th
he arrived in the latter city, and was received with all imaginable
ostentation. After visiting, on the following day, the Electoral Library,
Academy of Sciences, Treasury, picture gallery, and cabinet of coins,
and being presented by his host with a series of medals of the electors
coined in Rhine gold, Christian continued his journey on the 28th to
Hanau, in order to visit his two sisters.

After four days' stay here, the king travelled through Cassel and
Brunswick, and reached Hamburg on New Year's Day, where he was received
with a royal salute. On January 4 he arrived at Altona, the first city
in his dominions, and was welcomed by all possible demonstrations of
joy. The children of the Orphan Hospital and other charities were ranged
in two lines, with wax tapers in their hands, as his Majesty passed to
the palace. All the houses were illuminated, and a grand emblematical
firework, inscribed _optimo regi_, was played off, which was followed
by a grand masked ball. Here, too, Christian received his last heavy
discharge of verse, in the shape of a panegyric, from one Madame Wildin
of Glückstadt, in which the lady, with extensive view, surveys mankind
from Copenhagen to London and Paris. Her account of the English is so
droll that room must be made for it:--

    "De près vous avez visité
    Ce peuple penseur et sévère,
    Qu'entêtent le charbon de terre
    Et les vapeurs de liberté:
    Le quakre qui ne sourit guère,
    Le chapeau cloué sur son front,
    Découvrant votre esprit profond,
    Sous des dehors si faits pour plaire,
    Aura quitté son flegme austère:
    Le sang, plus qu'à demi gelé
    Du pâle consomptionaire
    Tout à coup aura circulé:
    Vous aurez vu de près ces crises,
    Ces trois pouvoirs sans cesse aux prises.
    Le sceptre Anglais est un roseau,
    Souvent plié par les orages:
    Qu'aurez vous dit à ce tableau,
    Vous absolu sur vos rivages?"

From Altona the Danish monarch proceeded to Ahrensburg, and remained
for two days on the estate of his marshal of the journey, Baron von
Schimmelmann. After this short rest the journey was continued so
hurriedly, that, on January 14, after an absence of seven months, he
made his festal entry into his capital by the side of Queen Caroline
Matilda, who drove out to Roeskilde to meet him. At night the whole city
was illuminated, for the nation still expected a fortunate change at any
moment, and would not be disabused, although their hope was constantly


[Footnote 74: Brown's "Northern Courts," vol. i.]

[Footnote 75: Fredensborg, or the Palace of Peace, was built by Frederick
IV., in 1720, in testimony of the pleasure which the peace of Nystadt
caused him. The death of Charles XII., that unhappy king, who was
possessed by the monomania rather than the genius of war, was considered
a blessing throughout the north, which his warlike temper plunged into
disorder and ruin.--De Flaux, "Du Danemark."]

[Footnote 76: "Authentische Aufklärungen."]

[Footnote 77: "Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen."]

[Footnote 78: "Vie privée de Louis XV." London, 1781.]

[Footnote 79: "Mémoires de M. le Baron de Bezenval," vol. i. p. 204.]

[Footnote 80: Although Carlyle has recently thrown a doubt on this
anecdote, it is too well established as an historical fact for even that
writer absolutely to demolish it.]

[Footnote 81: The sources whence I have drawn the above hasty sketch of
Paris in the eighteenth century are--Duclos, Mémoires Secrets--Marmontel,
Mémoires--Soulavie, Mémoires de Richelieu--Soulavie, Décadence de
la Monarchie Française--Madame du Hausset, Mémoires--Madame de
Campan, Mémoires--Bezenval, Mémoires--Dumouriez, Mémoires--Casanova,
Mémoires--Vie privée de Louis XV.--Les fastes de Louis XV.--Voltaire,
Siècle de Louis XV.--Mémoires Historiques et Anecdotales de la Cour de
France--Chesterfield's Letters--Mercier, Tableau de Paris--Lacretelle,
Histoire de la France pendant le XVIII. Siècle--Barbier, Journal du Règne
de Louis XV.]

[Footnote 82: "Denkwürdigkeiten des Barons von Gleichen," p. 49.]

[Footnote 83: "Annual Register, 1768."]

[Footnote 84: "Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen."]

[Footnote 85: An amusing counterpart to this had occurred during
Christian's stay in London. One day, when his coach drove up to the door
of his residence, a fine-looking girl burst through the double line of
attendants, caught the King of Denmark in her arms, and, kissing him
heartily, said, "Now kill me if you please, I can die contented, since I
have kissed the prettiest fellow in the world." The king, far from being
offended, gently liberated himself from her embrace, and ran, laughing
and skipping, up-stairs.]

[Footnote 86: Written by l'Abbé de Beau de Voisenon, and to be found in
the "Almanach des Muses" for 1769.]




The three ministers who had managed the affairs of state during the King
of Denmark's absence, were Counts von Thott and Moltke, and Herr von
Rosenkrantz. The first attended to home affairs; the second occupied the
post of foreign minister, rendered vacant by Bernstorff's absence; and
the third was at the head of the War Office. The Admiralty had recently
lost a respected chief, through the removal of old Count von Danneskjold
Samsöe, and Count von Danneskjold Laurvig, who took his place, was far
from filling it worthily. Of these four men, Rosenkrantz was the only one
to whom the attention of those who sought a party leader could be turned.
He was a thorough man of the world; a noble air, insinuating politeness,
elegant manners, a polished mind, a great propensity for intrigue, and
an artistic suppleness, were the principal qualities of this man, and
rendered him well fitted to play a part in court intrigues. But it was as
yet too early to think of forming a party. The first period of the king's
government had offered too many examples that the highest favour and the
lowest fall were too near together for any one to place confidence either
in his own good luck, or that of another person.

The three other men I have mentioned, regarded the court quarrels
as intrigues that were beneath them. Count von Thott, an honest and
well-informed man, had a rich source of consolation against any blow of
fate in himself and his acquirements. In every conjuncture he proved
equal to himself and his merits. He accepted whatever fortune offered him
without arrogance, and lost it without despondency. Such a man was not
born for political intrigue. Count von Moltke had played such a brilliant
part in the last reign; he had so carefully and cautiously profited by
the favouring circumstances of that day; he was so highly respected
throughout the kingdom, that there was reason for believing that, under
all circumstances, he would be alone able to withstand any opposition
offered him by the court. It is true, that his ambition was notorious.
It was known that he regarded pomp as an indispensable accompaniment of
happiness. But people also reflected that there is an age when the spur
of ambition becomes blunted, and when a man does not care to sacrifice
the pleasant repose of undisturbed happiness to imaginary and uncertain

Count Laurvig had only the manner and acquirements which are attained
by long practice and intimacy with high society. He had also ever
sacrificed his reputation to his pleasures; and, in some affairs, had
behaved with such recklessness, that he had forfeited the general respect
which he possessed before these errors. With such principles, no man
can advance far on the path of ambition. From the last three members
of the government, therefore, no complicated court intrigues could be

The Danish people, at this time, were in a state of sullen discontent.
They were dissatisfied with the maintenance of the poll tax, which they
had been promised should be soon abolished, when it was established in
1762, on the occasion of an impending war with Russia; but they were
probably more dissatisfied with the way in which the money was spent
than with the tax itself. The Norwegians, more especially, were very
angry, and broke into complaints, whose tone was extremely serious. This
dissatisfaction had hardly been appeased, and the people were beginning
to endure the burden more patiently, when a new source of sorrow and
anger was opened for the nation. This was the king's costly tour, which
exhausted the finances, and caused a suspension of all the outlay, by
which the nation had previously profited. Road-making, the maintenance
of the royal palaces, the proposed augmentation of the army, were all
prevented. Ready money was sent out of the country; the rate of exchange
with Hamburg rose enormously; trade began to sink, and credit almost

In this sad condition, Christian found his kingdom on his return. His
fickle mind, which dwelt on nothing that did not relate to his own
insignificant amusements, prevented him from weighing the serious nature
of these facts, and destroyed in him every feeling that should have
called his attention to them. On the other hand, we must allow, that
all who now saw the king again, were struck by the favourable change
which the tour had produced in him. He had acquired an elegant manner,
and laid aside many of his bad habits. At the same time, he had really
examined much abroad, and thus gained wider views. Hence, Bernstorff was
complimented on the good results of the royal trip, and people seemed
quite to overlook the fact that Holck was still Christian's intimate
friend; and that, on the 25th August last, the king had appointed him
Grand Maître de la Garderobe et des plaisirs, by which the count was
raised to the rank of a privy councillor, only nine months after his
nomination as a gentleman of the bed-chamber. In fact, the king's
attachment to his favourite had attained such a height, that one day, in
England, by Christian's orders, the couriers' horses were almost ridden
to death, solely to bring up the count in time to be present at a large
party, where he would meet the new lady of his love. For Count Holck had
been left a widower after only a few weeks' marriage with the delicate
Fräulein von Stockfleth, but speedily contrived to console himself. He
fell in love with Lady Bel Stanhope, and Christian himself interposed
on his behalf. The mother was not averse, but Lady Bel very sensibly
refused. His rival was Sackville, afterwards Duke of Dorset, of whom, as
Walpole tells us, he said "ce gros noir n'est pas beau," which implied,
that he thought his own whiteness and pertness charming. Amusing tales
were whispered about the intimacy of the king and the master of the
wardrobe, and their amours during the tour; and, in truth, after the
first impression had worn off, the king's state of health, which had
never been satisfactory, proved of what nature the amusements of the
friends must principally have been. The incessant variety of stupifying
amusements, and, at the same time, an excessive indulgence in sensual
pleasures, had evidently exhausted the king, and undermined his moral and
physical powers.

We can quite understand how the complaints about augmentation of the
taxes grew louder when it was found that the chief object of the tour,
the moral improvement of the young king, had been an utter failure.
Enormous sums had to be found to pay for the articles purchased in
England and France, and fresh loans, as a necessary result, raised.
Matters now came to such a pitch that the Treasury was unable to satisfy
the current expenses, which caused great embarrassment. And it must be
borne in mind that the Danish population was not in a condition to endure
any increased taxation. Prince Charles of Hesse gives us a dreadful
picture of the country as it remained from the time when he first visited
it up to the reign of Frederick VI. The peasant was a serf in Denmark
in the fullest meaning of the term. There was no justice for him; no
protection against his owner. Many of the latter had been the bailiffs,
who had ruined their absent masters, and eventually purchased their
estates. The wretched Danish peasant stood under the merciless whip of
these vile men. He was at the mercy of his master, who compelled him to
take a poor farm and put it in order, and when he had got it into a good
state by the sweat of his brow and his industry, drove him out to do
the same at another farm. The master forced him to marry whomsoever he
thought proper. At the slightest opposition, he handed over the wretch to
the militia, or sold him for 50 crowns to a captain, on condition that he
would never again be allowed to set foot in his native province.

Jütland was the most trampled province; but in Zeeland affairs were worst
of all, for there the peasant was almost quite brutalized. He possessed
a number of small horses, which, in winter, supported themselves almost
exclusively on grass or roots, which they scratched from under the snow;
little carts in which the boors took a small lot of grain to market; huts
that resembled those of savages--such was the almost hideous aspect of
this fair province. The only market which even the most distant farmers
could attend was held at Copenhagen. They came to market, made their
sales, ran to the tavern to drink, started home drunk, and with loosened
rein, but stopped punctually at every pothouse, of which there was one
every mile, so that they might not emerge from the only happy condition
they knew. At the same time, Denmark derived everything from abroad; and
Hamburg was the _entrepôt_ of articles of luxury, delicate eating, and
dainty vegetables.[88] From such a sketch, we can easily understand why
the nation groaned in spirit at the extravagant outlay entailed by the
king's hopeless tour.

Under such depressing circumstances, the nation was naturally greatly
annoyed at finding that the treasury had frequently to aid Count Holck
in defraying his lavish expenditure. Thus, for instance, he purchased
the Blaagaard Villa, in front of the northern gate of the capital, and
decorated it with handsome new buildings and fine gardens. Nothing more
was heard, however, of the former nocturnal scenes, as we have seen how
the king's first mistress was expelled from Copenhagen. From this time,
the police were enabled to do their duty during any night rows, while,
prior to the king's tour, the police-master had been ordered not to
interfere with the king or any of his suite. The result of this was, that
many offences committed by other persons were attributed to the king.[89]

After the king's return, a different mode of life was introduced at
court,--the former short dinner-hour was lengthened, and, though kept
within the limits of ceremony, employed for general conversation. The
king inspected the docks and scientific institutions of the capital,
probably with the object of comparing them with those he had seen abroad.
It was also noticed with satisfaction that the king was beginning to busy
himself with the affairs of government, which, it was supposed, must be
ascribed to Bernstorff's good influence, although the premier was still
unable to carry out his favourite decree of attaining the dignity of
Grand Chancellor.

The court itself had also grown more lively. The two queen dowagers and
the hereditary Prince Frederick had sought, during the last summer,
amusement by paying each other visits at their summer houses, and by
staying with the nobles at their country seats. The reigning queen,
however, remained at Frederiksberg, and found her only delight in her
little son, the crown prince. In September, she and Juliana Maria
returned to the capital to spend the winter there; and at the beginning
of autumn, the opening of the theatre afforded them some slight

In proportion as the king declined and degenerated in his physical and
intellectual powers, Matilda had made more than proportionate advances.
Her person was much increased in height and breadth; her air and
appearance were more dignified and imposing; her mind seemed to have
acquired firmness; and, on their first interview, her conscious husband
absolutely started at the improved appearance of his queen; reflecting on
his own imbecility, he seemed half reluctant, half afraid to meet her.[90]

We have seen that intrigues were at work, during the king's absence, to
heighten the alienation he felt from his wife, and ere long his behaviour
to her subsided from cold familiarity into cruel disrespect. Matilda,
who felt a reluctance to acquaint the royal family in England with the
daily mortifications and slights she met with from the king and his
step-mother, gave vent to her grief and vexation in a letter which she
wrote to the Princess Mary of Hesse Cassel. This lady's consanguinity
with the King of Denmark, and the marriage of her son with Christian's
sister, doubtless suggested the application to her. The following is an
exact copy of the letter:--

    COPENHAGEN, _March 22, 1769_.


You are not unacquainted with the arts, devices, and aspiring views
of the queen dowager, who seems solely bent on undermining the royal
authority, the exercises of which she assumes solely to herself; and,
after having made the king contemptible to his subjects, in availing
herself of his weakness, to give a sanction to the most flagrant acts of
violence, injustice, and oppression. She has forfeited all claims to the
sentiments of forgiveness and moderation I have too long manifested, in
opposition to censure, insolence, and obloquy, by her last most injurious
and false aspersions on my reputation and the dignity of a reigning
queen. I am amazed at the king's torpor and insensibility. If any person
of my attendance shows a laudable zeal for my service, or a respectful
attachment to my person, it is reputed a crime, and punished with royal
displeasure and dismission. Some reasons dictated by prudence have
prevented me from troubling the king, my brother, on this disagreeable
subject, as he might perhaps think it highly improper to interfere in
grievances which he has no right to redress. I have applied to your known
benevolence to do me the kind office of advising me, that I may bring
the king to a sense of his wrongs and his injustice. Would you take upon
yourself; as for as it is consistent with your discretion, to assist me
in such a perplexing situation. I could never sufficiently acknowledge
your friendly interposition to restore the peace of mind of

    Your affectionate

       *       *       *       *       *

Princess Mary begged the queen, her niece, would excuse her from taking
any part in these royal feuds, which, instead of producing the desired
effect, might perhaps stimulate her rival's vengeance, to offer her
Majesty some new affronts and indignities. She professed, at the same
time, a great concern for her troubles and anxiety, hoping her Majesty's
good sense and conduct would confound the vile imputations of Juliana,
and make the king sensible of his errors.

If the public entertained any doubts as to the terms on which the
king and queen stood to each other, they were removed when the court
proceeded, in May, to the palace of Frederiksberg, near Copenhagen. This
gave the affair another turn, and soon dispelled the good opinion about
a change in the king's mode of life, and the fancied wedded happiness
of the young queen. Count Holck now lived at the "Blue Farm," in close
proximity to the summer residence of the court, after being married on
May 8, to the Countess Juliana Sophia, daughter of the admiral, Count
Danneskjold Laurvig, which, however, did not prevent him from continuing
his old course of life. Elegant court dames lodged for the summer in
villas round his country seat, and a constant communication was kept up
between Frederiksberg and the "Blaagaard."

In July, a visit from the Duke of Gloucester, brother of Queen Caroline
Matilda, gave occasion for numerous court festivities, but also for
an increased dislike on the part of the queen against the favourite.
One day, the king asked Count Holck, whom the duke resembled? And the
impudent favourite answered, "An English ox." The duke was in truth
extremely stout, and had a corresponding broad face. The king laughed at
his favourite's joke, but was so malicious as to repeat Holck's sally
to the queen. The duke appears to have enjoyed himself right royally
while in Copenhagen, for we read that he and his gentlemen indulged so
immoderately at table, after the fashion of the age, that they were
obliged to take foot-baths, and use other preventives, for fear of an
attack of apoplexy before morning.

The boldness which the favourite displayed, and the loose life he himself
led, and to which he habituated the king, at length aroused a party
against him, which plainly increased more and more daily. At the head
of it was the Supreme Court Marshal Frederick Christian von Moltke, who
had recently been deposed on behalf of a man who in other respects stood
far below him. But this Count Moltke did not possess the cleverness and
practised craft of his father, and did not know how to overthrow the
arrogant favourite. This was reserved for another man, from whom it had
not been expected. This man of bourgeois origin contrived within a short
period to remove not only Count Holck, but nearly all those in authority,
and to introduce a spirit into the government which, had it not been
overthrown, might have had the best consequences for land and nation; for
the most important of his reforms were such as had endured a lengthened
trial. This man was Dr. Struensee.

JOHN FREDERICK STRUENSEE was born at Halle, on August 5, 1737, where his
father, Adam Struensee, the son of a cloth-factor, in New Ruppin, was at
the time preacher at St. Ulrich's Church. His mother, Maria Dorothea, was
the only daughter of Dr. Carl, a man given to mysticism, who had been
appointed physician in ordinary by Christian VII.'s grandfather, and died
in 1757, as a practising physician at Mildorf, in Dittmarsch, at the
great age of ninety years.[91]

Struensee had light brown, almost flaxen hair, blue, sharp, and flashing
eyes, an aquiline nose, and a high forehead; he was firmly built, and
gifted with an admirable ability, great desire for learning, and a most
excellent memory.[92] He received his first education at the Orphan
School of his native town, where religious instruction was not only
treated superficially, but several of his teachers were also given to
mysticism. In their lessons they constantly said, "This you must believe,
because God has spoken so in the Bible," but offered no proof that the
Bible was really the word of God. Struensee concluded from this, that his
teachers regarded the Bible as of divine origin, solely because they had
been taught so in their youth, and was not satisfied with this.

It happened on one occasion that many of his fellow-pupils, of whom
several were of notoriously loose morals, declared that they had been
suddenly enlightened and converted. All sorts of edifying exercises
were at once performed with these young men. Struensee, and others of
his school friends, who were not among the enlightened, considered this
ridiculous; and the foolish penance which the teachers imposed upon
them in consequence, rendered Struensee only the more obstinate. The
pietistic teachers declared that it was as godless to go about in ruffles
and powdered hair as to commit actual sin. Struensee drew from this the
conclusion, that as the former cannot possibly be sinful, consequently
excesses are just as little sinful. The religious views of his parents,
with which they sought to inoculate their son, also aided to confirm the
young man in his free-thinking opinions, as he was too clever not to give
the preference to an unfeigned belief in God. The father incessantly told
his incredulous son how he, from his youth up, had felt in himself the
most powerful workings of grace, and was constantly tormenting him with
other religious tenets of a nature more or less abstruse. The mother,
who had by her marriage been only confirmed in the misty views she had
imbibed from her father, entirely agreed with her husband, and thus did
her part to turn her son against his home; and, lastly, the father's
ill-applied strictures hardened young Struensee's heart against all the
exhortations of his over-pious parents. The sermons which he was forced
to listen to on Sunday were powerless to produce any other opinion about
religion. He saw persons at church weeping from remorse, and found them
after the tears of pious repentance had been shed, no better than they
had been before. The result was, that Struensee, in opposition to these
hypocrites, became a perfect free-thinker.

Another trait of Struensee's character forms the keynote of his
catastrophe. He was from an early age gifted with an enterprising and
restless mind, and an unbridled ambition. This fact aroused in his father
a well-founded apprehension, when he heard of his son's rapid progress
in the world. "My son," he said to a friend, "will not be able to bear
the favour of his monarch." These words contain Struensee's whole fate.
Moreover, he had always an immoderate propensity for pleasure, and
very liberal views as regards morality. Such faults are wont to assume
enormous proportions in the intoxication of fortune: they are the more
dangerous for a man whose career attracts the general attention; they
lead him into serious errors; and any statesman ought carefully to try
and keep them in submission.[93]

With what remarkable abilities the young man must have been endowed is
proved by the fact that he was able to matriculate at the University of
Halle in his fourteenth year, and had not completed his twentieth when
he received his degree as Doctor. In 1757, the call of his father to be
chief preacher in the town church of Altona had a material influence on
Struensee's fate. The young doctor accompanied his father there, and
remained for a time in the house of his parents. Ere long, however, he
entered the public service, for, on October 20 of the same year, he
was appointed by the government town physician of Altona, and country
physician of the lordship of Pinneberg and the county of Rantzau. When
his father, who had become celebrated as a theologian, was appointed by
the government superintendent-general of the two duchies, and removed
first to Rendsburg and then to Schleswig, the young doctor bought a house
in Altona, and set up his own household. His table was laid at dinner for
six persons, at supper for four, and the meals were accompanied by clever
conversation. The host often gave free course to his satire, though
without offending any one, and his guests were principally men of letters
and officers.

In a small pamphlet I have picked up,[94] there is a curious anecdote,
which serves to show the humorous side of Struensee's character. He once
invited to dinner four persons, all of whom he knew to be on unfriendly
terms. He delighted in the sour face cut by each new corner on seeing his
aversion, but tried to reconcile them. Each of the guests whispered in
his ear, "Why did you not tell me you were going to ask them, and then I
would have come to you another time?" He laughed, and justly ridiculed
an animosity which pedants are so fond of keeping up. Another curious
circumstance is, that two skeletons stood by Struensee's bedside, holding
burning candles in their hands. Whether he really read at night in this
anything but agreeable company in order to habituate himself with death,
cannot be positively asserted.

From 1760-62, Panning, a well-known literary man of the day, lived
with Struensee, and the couple started, in July, 1763, a new literary
experiment, called the "Monthly Journal, for Instruction and Amusement."
The first number is now lying before me; but there is nothing very
wonderful in it. It is supposed that an article, under the heading of
"Thoughts of a Surgeon about the Causes of Depopulation in a given
Country," was written by Struensee, because the essay contains ideas
which were afterwards set in practice by him. Although the magazine
contained various articles quite equal to the average of those days, it
was dropped at the end of six months, and when Struensee was asked why
he had not gone on with it, as it was generally popular, he replied that
literature did not pay. Afterwards, he published some medico-scientific
treatises, and an essay on the respect which an author ought to entertain
for the public.

Struensee's studies and reading were not restricted to professional
topics. One of his favourite authors was Voltaire; but he also had a
great veneration for J. J. Rousseau. With Helvetius, he inclined to the
opinion, that as all men have equal organisms, they must be competent to
attain the same things, and this axiom he applied to himself through the
flattery of others. With Boulanger, he also assumed at that time that
fear of all mighty nature was the primitive source of all religions among
the ancient nations. Although Struensee never swerved in his belief that
the universe and the human race had their origin in Deity, he could never
be brought to the conviction that man was composed of two substances.
He assumed that God set human nature first in action, but that when the
machine ceased acting, _i.e._, when a man died, he had nothing more to
hope or fear.

In the meanwhile Struensee continued to work faithfully in his
profession. Some successful cures gained him a reputation, and as he
was sincere and frank, never condemned others or judged too severely,
he acquired numerous friends. His agreeable person and pleasant manners
helped to make him a popular physician, and we can quite understand how
the ladies selected the good-looking doctor to attend to their maladies,
real or pretended. After the fashion of the day, the ladies had their
little jests with him, and he confessed, though always in a delicate
manner, that he was an admirer of the fair sex. When, however, persons
tried to make him blush by repeating to him some loose anecdote connected
with himself, he always blunted its point by displaying the utmost
discretion.[95] It is to be regretted that he did not follow the same
good rule in the awful crisis of his life.

Struensee soon gained access to the first houses, and found a powerful
patron in Privy Councillor Imperial Count Hans zu Rantzau-Ascheberg.[96]
This count's son was Major General SCHACK KARL, Count ZU RANTZAU, who
became one of the principal actors in the ensuing tragedy. He soon became
intimate with the young doctor, and they made an agreement that if either
of them attained power, he should help the other. They became the more
intimate, because the doctor's help was often needed for the accouchement
of persons with whom Rantzau had had adulterous intercourse. Struensee
rendered these services with a generosity far above his fortune; even
more, he supported Rantzau for some time, and advanced him the necessary
funds to appear at court; so that Struensee, instead of being the count's
protégé, rather played the part of protector. Rantzau, by his flattery,
gave the doctor an exaggerated idea of his capacity, and fostered in
him the ambition which became his ruin. The count, however, only thought
of gaining a creature, and fully believed that if he ever became again a
great lord and general officer, Struensee would no longer be his friend,
but his client and physician. In the latter capacity Struensee rendered
him a signal service. Countess zu Rantzau, while residing at Altona, was
attacked by small-pox of a very malignant character. All the Rantzaus
combined in demanding that another physician should be called in, but
the husband insisted and declared that his friend had genius, which was
better than science. The disease was very well treated, and the cure of
the countess rendered the doctor dear to all the family, their friends,
and protégés.[97]

Another house where Struensee met with a most friendly reception, was
that of the administrator of the county, Privy Councillor Baron von
Söhlenthal, who was the step-father of Enevold Brandt. Struensee was also
physician to the Landrost of the Lordship of Pinneberg, Privy Councillor
von Berkentin, whose wife, after the Drost's death, was appointed chief
gouvernante of the hereditary Prince Frederick. At this house Struensee
is stated often to have said, half in jest, half in earnest, "My ladies
and patronesses, only contrive to get me to Copenhagen, and I will make
matters all right." Struensee was also on very friendly terms with
Equerry and Chamberlain von Bülow; and lastly, he made at Altona the
acquaintance of the then Captain Falckenskjold, who was fated to suffer
so terribly for this acquaintance, and of Count Conrad von Holck, when
the King of Denmark came to the duchies in 1767.

This period was probably the happiest in Struensee's short life, but he
found no satisfaction in his professional position. His restless, soaring
mind suggested to him to resign his post, and take a voyage to Malaga or
the East Indies. As his health at this time was not the best, he hoped
a recovery in a milder climate. The exciting details he had read in
descriptions of travels in India, and the prospect of acquiring a fine
fortune there, the more urged him to the enterprise, as he had recently
run into debt at Altona. At this moment a very different prospect was
offered him.

When a physician in ordinary had to be appointed for Christian's
projected tour abroad, Struensee was recommended by his patrons, Counts
Rantzau-Ascheberg and Holck and Brandt, who had not yet fallen into
disgrace, to occupy this post; and Frau von Berkentin, whose life
Struensee had once saved in a dangerous illness, and Von Berger, the
physician in ordinary to the king, supported this choice. Struensee
himself saw in this a happy dispensation of fate, which opened to him an
extensive career. He accepted the offer, and was appointed surgeon during
the journey on April 5, 1768. On June 6, he joined the king's suite at
Ahrensburg, and had a seat in the carriage of Legations rath Sturtz, with
whom he eventually became very intimate.

During the entire tour Struensee, in consequence of his position, was
frequently near the king's person, and carefully watched over his health.
This often enabled him to work against the injurious influence of Count
Holck over the passionate prince, for which purpose he generally had
recourse to interesting conversation upon French literature. On the
other hand, Struensee carefully avoided political discussions, and if
ever such were brought up, he never made the slightest allusion to home
affairs. Struensee even carried this precaution so far, that he either
entirely broke off his correspondence with his Holstein friends, or else
restricted it to indifferent topics. For the courtiers soon noticed the
growing pleasure which the king found in conversing with his doctor, and
perceived that Struensee possessed acquirements which fitted him to take
part in other business. But Struensee still clung to his profession too
much to grant room to a thought of giving it up, and was too sharp not to
notice the suspicious glances which the king's _entourage_ cast at the
interesting doctor. Hence it was so little his object to overthrow Count
Holck, that he completely neglected an apparently favourable opportunity.
We have seen how Brandt was dismissed from court for his foolish letter
to the king, and ordered to retire to Oldenburg. As he had neither
salary nor pension, Bernstorff gave him a supernumerary post in the
regency of that province. Growing tired of his employment, Brandt went
off to Paris to have an interview with the king, and arrived just at the
moment when Holck had fallen into temporary disgrace. As Struensee did
not move in the matter, Brandt obtained no audience, and the favourite
procured him 100 louis d'or to carry him back again.[98]

Struensee merely contented himself with weakening the immense power Holck
exercised over Christian, by encouraging his feeble master to feel a
greater pride in himself. As, too, Struensee never took advantage of his
position to obtain gratifications for himself or his friends, he rose
the higher in the respect of all persons whose respect was worth having,
with whom he came in contact in foreign countries; and that the frivolous
young king not only took pleasure in Struensee's clever conversation, but
also granted him a certain degree of respect, he proved on every possible

On January 7, 1769, Struensee returned to Altona in the king's suite. As
he had only been appointed surgeon for the journey, he would have been
obliged to resume his professional avocations, but the king would have
missed him too much; and hence, on the united proposition of Bernstorff
and Schimmelmann, he was appointed actual surgeon in ordinary, with a
salary of 1000 dollars, while a gratification of 500 dollars was granted
him to pay his debts.[99]

On arriving in the capital, Struensee occupied himself for awhile with
his duties as surgeon. He employed the confidence he had acquired with
the king in drawing the young autocrat's attention to the state of his
health, arousing in him a liking for employment, and making him lead a
more regular course of life. He spoke with him openly and fearlessly
about everything that he considered right, although he frequently
discovered that he offended the king by doing so. Such moments of
displeasure were most marked, when he represented to Christian the
injurious results of immoderate sensuality--a freedom which deserves
the greater recognition, because Struensee at that time had no powerful
supporter at court, but stood quite alone. For Count Holck had grown
reserved toward him, and the only person who displayed any attachment
to him was the page Von Warnstedt, of which Struensee took advantage to
imbue this young man with principles which would be beneficial to the
king, should they happen to be repeated in his presence.

On May 12, 1769, Struensee was appointed actual state councillor, and
was thus privileged to take part in all the court festivities, to which
only the members of the first three classes had admission.[100] He had
apartments in the palace of Frederiksberg, when Christian VII. and
Caroline Matilda resided there, in the summer of 1769. This enabled him
to form acquaintance with all the personages of the court, and study
their character. When the king returned to Copenhagen, the first signs
of parties being formed began to be visible, and that attached to Holck
was the most important and numerous. The first men of the state and the
ministers belonged to it; for they apprehended nothing from the frivolous
favourite, who only cared for pomp and pleasure: they were only afraid of
the influence of the reigning queen, and foresaw that she might become
dangerous to them, if ever she gained the upper hand. Holck confirmed the
king in principles which must excessively displease his consort and keep
her away from him: hence these men, whose only care was for their own
prestige and authority, could desire nothing more than the permanence of
the favour which Holck enjoyed. The few partisans of the queen dowager
shared with her the gloom and tranquillity of her present state. A few
young persons, who fancied they saw in the attractions and good sense
of the reigning queen a power, which might with time acquire for her
many partisans, and even under other circumstances regain the king's
affection, seemed to take her part; but they possessed no fortune, rank,
nor the experience which is necessary in court intrigues. The young queen
also placed no confidence in such weak supporters, and had already formed
a plan by which she hoped to attain her object.

Caroline Matilda had something active and decided in her character
which could not always lie fallow. She was greatly humiliated by the
insignificant part she played at court, and felt that there was no other
way of re-acquiring the respect which belonged to her rank than by trying
to gain the king's confidence again. She was convinced that she would
never succeed in this so long as Holck remained in favour; and she could
not make up her mind to place confidence in any one of the ministers, as
she felt a dislike of them all, but especially of Bernstorff, whom she
feared. She, therefore, determined to foil all the offensive designs she
apprehended from the ministers, and overthrow the reigning favourite.
To effect this, she began by displaying a marked deference towards the
king, and striving to act in accordance with all his wishes. But she had
not yet found the instrument whom she needed to support her, till chance
threw Struensee in her way. Up to this time, the doctor had displayed
no marked attachment to any party: Moltke's partisans were striving to
gain him and Warnstedt over to their side; and as Struensee was a welcome
guest at the house of the chief marshal of the court, for which honour
he had frequently to pay, by losing heavy sums in the then fashionable
game of hazard, this coterie gained their object, or at least fancied
that they had succeeded.

Whether Struensee at this period of his career had an inkling of the
extraordinary part he would be called upon to play, it is now impossible
to say: it is evident, however, that he acted with the utmost caution in
feeling his way. He was gradually gaining ground in the king's favour;
but there is not the slightest evidence in support of the commonly
expressed opinion, that, with his first step in Denmark, he resolved to
become the _de facto_ ruler of that country.


[Footnote 87: "Authentische Aufklärungen," pp. 25, 26.]

[Footnote 88: "Mémoires de mon Temps." pp. 8, 9.]

[Footnote 89: It was on one of these occasions that Reverdil, on some
courtiers bringing to the palace a morning star they had taken from a
watchman, and boasting loudly of their exploit, uttered the sarcastic
words, "Voilà un beau chemin à la gloire." This remark had something to
do with his dismissal.]

[Footnote 90: "Northern Courts," p. 82.]

[Footnote 91: In a life of Carl August von Struensee, by Held, I find
that the origin of the Struensee family was as follows:--One of his
ancestors, of quite a different name, was, during the time of the
Hanseatic League, a pilot of Lübeck. During a frightful storm, in which
no other man dared to venture out to sea, he brought a richly laden fleet
into port; acquired respect and credit in his native city for doing
so; and, in memory of his courageous deed, received from the Lübeck
magistracy the name of Strouvensee, which means a dark, stormy sea.]

[Footnote 92: In a tolerably impartial life of Struensee, published at
Copenhagen while he was under sentence of death, the following portrait
is drawn of him:--"He was a tall and very broad-shouldered fellow, almost
of the height for the Guards; was not ill-looking, had a rather long
nose, a merry look, playful and penetrating eyes, a free carriage, and
sat his horse very well. Liberty followed all his movements, and he was
as little affected in the presence of the king and among the courtiers,
as if he were a born gentleman and had been educated at court. In short,
through the qualities of his mind and person he might have been an
amiable courtier and excellent statesman, if his heart had only been

[Footnote 93: "Authentische Aufklärungen."]

[Footnote 94: "Besondere Nachrichten von den Opfern der Staaten," &c.
Pelim. 1772. This was a town in Siberia, to which Marshal Münnich was
banished; but I doubt whether it contained a printing press.]

[Footnote 95: "Besondere Nachrichten von den Opfern," &c.]

[Footnote 96: This name was probably derived from a conical mound,
apparently an ancient tumulus, in the centre of the gardens, on which
very fine ash trees grew.]

[Footnote 97: Reverdil, pp. 61, 62.]

[Footnote 98: Mr. N. W. Wraxall's Private Journal.]

[Footnote 99: Whenever the word dollar is used, its value must be taken
at three marcs courant, or about 3s. 6d. of our money.]

[Footnote 100: The rank-order (rang-ordnung) is divided into nine
classes in Denmark. To the first class belong the privy councillors
of conferences, generals and lieutenant-generals, admirals and
vice-admirals, and the Counts von Danneskjold Samsöe (by reason of
their birth); to the second class, the councillors of conference,
major-generals and rear-admirals; and to the third, actual councillors
of state, colonels and commanders. Only these classes had the right to
attend court up to the reign of Frederick VI.]




Various stories are current as to the way in which Caroline Matilda
and Struensee first became acquainted. Her enemies assert that she was
guilty of dissimulation from the outset, and that, for some time after
she had chosen the doctor as her partisan, she feigned an aversion for
him; but there appears to be no foundation for this report beyond that
of party spirit. After well weighing the various accounts, I am disposed
to accept, in preference, the one given in Mr. N. W. Wraxall's private
journal, because he had it from one of the principal actors while the
events were fresh in his memory.[101]

About this time, Struensee became intimate with a lady whose sentiments
seemed to harmonize with his own. This was Frau von Gabel, wife of the
admiral, and _née_ Countess Rosenkrantz, of Willestrup, in Jütland. This
lady, who was at the time only twenty-three years of age, had formerly
repulsed the king's coarse advances. Struensee, in order to secure the
king's favour, thought it advisable, so it was said, to give him an
ostensible mistress, of whom he himself would be the real lover.[102]
He chose for this purpose Frau von Gabel, a very young and charming
woman, animated with a real patriotism, but too much of a republican to
live at court. Struensee began by persuading her that the king had been
entirely changed during his tour; he had grown affable and attentive,
and capable of devoting his attention to governing. He added, that he
flattered himself with having greatly contributed to this change; that
the patriots ought to thank him for it, but that the work was still
imperfect, and could only be completed by a woman of sense and honest
character undertaking to arouse in the sovereign a moral feeling, which
had been blunted by his debauchery and the vices of his favourites.

Frau von Gabel, on hearing this, desired to become better acquainted
with the king, and to please him. She received repeated visits from
Christian during the early part of the year, though she lived some
distance from court. The clever lady strove to employ the impression she
produced on the king's mind in dragging him out of the inaction which
degraded him, and helping him to cast off his inglorious bonds. Still
Struensee did not agree with her on two points. The first was, that she
and the Moltke party insisted on removing Holck from the king's person,
which Struensee considered unnecessary, because an old favourite was
less injurious than a new one. The other was, that she did not, like the
doctor, regard a reconciliation between the royal husband and wife as
absolutely necessary for the king's happiness.

Frau von Gabel soon discovered, however, that she had been deceived as
to the king's pretended amendment. In proportion as he spoke with less
reserve, he displayed the same vices she had known in him formerly, and,
in addition, the mania which formed their basis. She fell into a state of
profound melancholy, and died in the following August, showing, in her
last moments, that Struensee, far from having been her lover, had only
attracted her hatred.[103]

Caroline Matilda had discovered Frau von Gabel's desire of pleasing the
king, and, as a woman, naturally placed a false construction on it. She
regarded Struensee as an accomplice; hated them both; and always spoke
of the doctor with the most supreme contempt. Holck behaved like the
engineer who hoisted himself with his own petard. Seeing the queen's
detestation of the doctor, he did his utmost to force the latter upon
her, and revelled in the idea of causing her increased annoyance.
Caroline Matilda was, at this time, melancholy and ill, and was supposed
to be affected with symptoms of dropsy. The remedies she took had no
effect either on her malady or her temper, and hence the king proposed
to her to consult his young doctor; and, on her refusal, insisted on it.
Struensee had even more knowledge of the human heart, the world, and
women, than of his profession. After observing and questioning the queen,
he assured her that she was not dropsical; that her illness was not
serious; and pledged himself to cure her in a short time. His treatment
was as agreeable as his diagnosis; and his promises were consolatory.

"Chagrin," he said, "_ennui_, and a sedentary life, have produced all
the mischief; your Majesty does not want medicine so much as plenty of
exercise, amusements, and distractions. _Ennui_, which dwells in courts,
principally arises from etiquette; the latter must be proscribed, or, at
least, restricted to certain days, which are specially consecrated to it.
Danish ladies do not ride on horseback; but your Majesty must give them
the example. They may be scandalised at the outset, but the fashion and
custom will make them regard the thing with more favour."

The queen took riding lessons, and became, in a short time, a good and
indefatigable horsewoman. The obstructions were soon dispersed, and
gaiety, recalled to court in proportion as etiquette was banished from
it, caused no apprehension of a relapse being entertained. This happy
cure acquired confidence and easy access for the doctor. The queen
soon saw that she had been unfairly prejudiced against Struensee. On
conversing him on various subjects, she found him better informed and
more agreeable company than the swarm of idlers and empty-headed fops who
surrounded her. She liked the doctor the more on discovering that he was
thoroughly informed of the cause of her sorrow. Nothing affected her so
much as the indifference of the king and the insolence of his favourites.
Holck had certainly tried to gain her favour; but whether he set to work
awkwardly, or that the aversion was invincible, he had only irritated her
the more by his tentatives. He was reported to have boasted that he could
have gained the queen's favour by rendering homage to her charms, and his
indifference was the cause of her ill-will. This boast, of which he was
accused, justly or unjustly, had left ineffaceable traces, and convinced
the queen that all the other accusations brought against the favourite
were true.

Struensee, on the contrary, was a servant of no consequence. He offered
his devotion; he assured the queen that he should esteem it a happiness
to employ all his credit with the king in effecting a reconciliation.
The king had treated his wife, for some time past, with a respect and a
ceremonious tone that resembled derision. Struensee promised to restore
familiarity and confidence: results followed closely on the promises; and
he attached no value to this service. It was, he said, his own interest
he was studying; he felt quite comfortable in his position; all he wanted
was to acquire consistent support and the protection of a person who
could not be turned from him. The preceding favourites had been very
blind in trying to establish their credit on the disunion of the married
couple; for, in such a struggle, they must necessarily succumb. Such
interesting conversations naturally entailed greater assiduity. The king
appeared to approve of them, because they rendered his own situation more
agreeable; and the ascendancy he allowed the queen to regain increased
his own amusements. Far from opposing Struensee's visits, he sent him to
the queen at all sorts of hours, with all sorts of messages, and invited
him to every court festivity.

Struensee zealously continued his efforts to reconcile husband and
wife, and as both placed more confidence in him daily, he was tolerably
successful: only in one thing did he fail, and that was in rendering
the queen better disposed towards Holck, whom she regarded as the cause
of all the evil, although the latter, who was beginning to feel his
influence decrease, tried, as far as lay in his power, to render himself
agreeable to her. In October their Majesties returned to the capital,
and the good understanding between them seemed continually to improve.
The influential doctor and family adviser now found an opportunity for
more extensive action, as, on January 17, 1770, a suite of rooms was
given him in Christiansborg Palace.

The usual court festivities began again in this winter season. Theatrical
performances, masquerades, balls, sleigh parties, and cavalcades,
alternated with concerts at Count Holck's palace. Although the king took
part in all these amusements, he appeared no longer to find pleasure in
them. He only went because he was requested to do so, and in most matters
let himself be guided by the will of others. Just as on his return from
abroad he gave himself up to Bernstorff's guidance, he now only listened
to what the queen or Struensee advised him. The latter had hitherto
remained in retirement, and only attended to his professional duties and
pleasure, until an unpleasant occurrence attracted general attention to

Struensee was at the Opera, in the box set apart for the gentlemen of
the court, in which Filosofow also was. The unpolished Russian, however,
had a bad habit of expectorating frequently, and on this evening spat
on Struensee's coat. The latter dried it, and held his tongue; but
had scarce done so when Filosofow insulted him again in the same way.
Struensee began to murmur, but the envoy said it was a mistake, and
apologised. Struensee, not satisfied with this bare apology, demanded
satisfaction, and quitted the box. But the Russian, instead of meeting
his man, appealed to his diplomatic position, and, on his side, demanded
satisfaction of Bernstorff, who, however, would not go into the matter,
but quietly allowed it to drop. We can hardly assume that Filosofow
had merely acted in mistake in the box, and we can as little believe
that political motives caused his improper conduct, for Struensee at
this period had not mixed himself up at all in affairs of state. It is
more credible that the Russian had been cut out by the good-looking
doctor in a love affair, and wished to take his revenge in this coarse
way.[104] Owing to this occurrence, Bernstorff was warned by one of his
friends against Struensee, and advised to remove the doctor from the
king's person. The minister, however, did not listen to this advice: his
self-esteem concealed from him the true position of affairs, and his
pride despised an enemy over whom a victory would be too cheaply gained.
Such negligence is the more surprising in Bernstorff, because he had long
before spoken freely to some friends about the character of Struensee
and his plans, and sufficiently proved that he had investigated his
rival's designs with his own peculiar shrewdness, and drawn unpleasant
consequences from them.[105]

In this season Count Holck saw more and more clearly that danger
threatened him. He was only able to hold his own for awhile through
Struensee interposing on his behalf, although the latter openly reproved
his conduct, and through attaching himself to Reventlow, Schimmelmann,
and General Hauch. He regarded Struensee as his most dangerous opponent,
though, as we have seen, unjustly so. Still, the doctor was beginning to
make marked progress in his short career. He had acquired the special
favour of both their Majesties by the better understanding he had
produced between them, and the inoculation of the crown prince, which he
undertook on May 2, 1770, gained him the queen's favour in a still higher

The small-pox raged so fearfully in Zeeland in 1769, that in Copenhagen
alone twelve hundred children fell victims to it. The common people,
especially in the country, paid but little heed to the rules laid down by
the physicians, and the result of this negligence was, that frequently
more than one-half of those down with small-pox died in a village.
Jenner's mode of vaccination was but little known at the time, and the
establishment of a vaccinating dispensary was only ordered in Copenhagen
on December 1, 1769. It had not got into working order when the crown
prince was attacked by small-pox, and Struensee received orders to
vaccinate him. He undertook the task: the illness passed over without
peril, and the little patient was saved.

Caroline Matilda loved her boy most tenderly. Her good heart left her no
rest from the moment when he was attacked by a disease which was of a
very dangerous nature, in spite of all the experience of science. No one
was allowed to take the place of the affectionate mother by the boy's
bedside; she nursed him herself; she sat up with him, and awaited the
moment of his waking to hand him a draught to cool his parched lips.
Struensee assisted her in these maternal duties, for she would not permit
him to quit for a moment the darling of her heart. This gave him an
opportunity of passing many hours in the queen's presence, and she found
consolation and, ere long, pleasure in his society. Her conversations
with him became more confidential and important, and Struensee could
easily see that the time was at hand when she would seek his alliance,
and make him the confidant of all her designs.[106]

As a reward for curing the crown prince, Struensee was appointed reader
to the king, and cabinet secretary to the queen, with an annual salary
of 3,000 dollars, and, directly after, the title of Conferenzrath was
bestowed upon him. Although people were accustomed at that day to see
men who had powerful patrons overwhelmed with titles, still Struensee's
sudden elevation attracted the greater notice, because he was of
bourgeois origin, and had no noble protectors.

It has been frequently urged, though incorrectly, that the acceptance of
this title was an error on the part of Struensee. On the contrary, it was
indispensable for his object, because he derived from it the advantage
of accompanying the king on his travels, and could be admitted to the
royal table. Struensee was at this time as modest as he was cautious,
and had very wise principles as regarded his elevation. It might almost
be asserted that this caution formed part of his character, and that the
errors he eventually committed must be ascribed to the circumstances
in which he stood. The nature of the ambition that impelled Struensee
was too great and far-sighted to be satisfied with mere trifles and
insignificant privileges: he fancied he could see his way to the highest
post, and resolved to attain it. Countless obstacles rose in his path,
which must be removed; he had innumerable rivals who must be overcome.
Universal envy prepared for him the hardest struggle, and in this he must
conquer. He saw beforehand that he should never succeed in his object
unless he secured a powerful position at court.

After Struensee had been appointed reader to the king, his access to
the queen was much facilitated; for, as he had but little to do for his
master, the queen frequently employed him. His visits became so long and
assiduous, his conversation so interesting, his services so real, that
familiarity gradually sprang up between them. Ere long, all the barriers
which august rank opposes to individuals fell in turn, and at last, when
the favourite perceived that he had become necessary, and fancied that he
had inspired friendship, he ventured to pronounce that word, and was very
favourably heard.

"You require," he said to the queen, "to give your confidence; and to
whom could you better impart your sorrows than to your friends, to those
from whom you can expect succour, owing to their ascendancy over the
king? It is the misfortune of persons of your rank to have no equals, and
to live only among jealous people and valets. Mutual services establish
a species of equality between you and the persons who are able to oblige

These remarks were true: they were founded on the experience of the past:
they were uttered by an amiable and insinuating man, and addressed to
a person already too persuaded; to a queen who detested her rank. She
unhesitatingly accepted the friendship offered her, and the proofs she
gave of her own became daily more marked. Conscious of her innocence,
Caroline Matilda behaved in a manner that caused people to talk, and
her conduct was certainly most imprudent. Struensee was constantly seen
in her company, and she granted him familiarities which, as Reverdil
says, "would have ruined any ordinary woman." She gave him a seat in her
carriage when they were in the country, and took solitary walks with him
in the gardens and woods. At the court balls he was her constant partner,
and when she rode out he was her favoured cavalier.[107] No wonder that
the scandal grew, and was doubtless fanned by the ever watchful Juliana
Maria. Had it been a great nobleman, it would have been different, of
course, but Struensee, doctor, reader, and even raised to the second
class by the title of councillor, was not an officer of the court, and
could hold but one position, since he showed himself everywhere.[108]

As Holck did not dare to attack Struensee, he resolved to remove
Warnstedt from the king's presence, and fancied he had discovered a good
way of doing so. He proposed to the king to undertake another pleasure
trip to the duchies. It was his intention, and that of his partisans,
that the queen should not accompany her husband, so that they might the
more easily sway the monarch when his consort was away from him. But
Caroline Matilda had now more power than before the king's first journey
abroad: she resolved to go too,--and Christian offered no objection. When
the journey was definitively arranged for the beginning of May, Holck
effected the appointment of young Herr von Hauch as page to the king,
_vice_ Warnstedt, promoted an equerry and chamberlain. But the count's
glee at this victory was of but short duration, for in a few days the new
page was obliged to quit the court again, though for what reason remained
a mystery.

The journey was appointed for June 6, at the latest, but the old queen
dowager, Sophia Magdalena, was taken ill on May 18, and died on the
27th. During the last few years she had not exercised any influence over
her grandson, Christian, who was now doing his hardest to break through
all his old connections in the capital. Hence, the mourning for the
deceased queen was limited to the extraordinarily short period of six
weeks, and to the capital, while the court retired to Frederiksberg, to
escape the troublesome restraint. The departure for the duchies, however,
was, for the sake of propriety, deferred till the funeral was over. The
preparations were consequently hastened, and on June 13 the corpse was
deposited in the royal vault of the Roeskilde Cathedral. On the 18th,
their Majesties commenced their journey to their German subjects.

I need hardly say that Struensee and Warnstedt were in waiting, and Count
Holck also accompanied the king. Of the members of the privy council
of state, only Bernstorff was present. Reventlow paid a visit to his
estates; while Thott, Moltke, and Rosenkrantz, remained in Copenhagen
to attend to current business, but with express orders not to have any
dealings with the foreign envoys during the king's absence; and the
latter were requested, in the event of any pressing matter, to apply in
writing to Count Bernstorff. The tour was in truth only a little change
for the king, who was growing daily more imbecile; but it was employed
by the queen, Struensee, and their partisans, to introduce the reforms
they had secretly planned into the government.

Not one of the courtiers on whom Holck could reckon was in the suite.
It is true that his brother, Gustavus, his brother-in-law and sister,
the Von der Lühes, and his cousin, Von Lüttichau, were attached to the
court; but all these were only kept in place by his influence, so that
Count Bernstorff was the sole member of the Holck party left. But the
count himself was beginning to totter, so that he could only keep his own
position with difficulty, and was quite unable to support others.

For some time past it had grown quite clear to Bernstorff that the king
did not regard him so kindly as formerly. He had drawn the queen's
displeasure on himself by aiding in the dismissal of Frau von Plessen,
and he justly regarded his colleague, Rosenkrantz, as an enemy, because
that intriguing gentleman had first aroused the queen's anger against
him. Lastly, Bernstorff was growing seriously alarmed about Struensee's
increasing influence and rapid advancement. Latterly, Filosofow,
probably instigated by revenge, had repeatedly urged him to remove this
dangerous man from court, and offered the assistance of the empress in
effecting it. But Bernstorff declined the offer, as he did not consider
the opposite party would be so bold as to attack a minister of his
reputation, whom even a Danneskjold Samsöe had been unable to overthrow.
Still, he requested Filosofow, who was on the point of visiting the
baths of Aix-la-Chapelle, to go only as far as Pyrmont, so that he might
be at hand should his assistance be required.[109]

Among Struensee's partisans, Von Warnstedt appeared to have the greatest
influence over the king. Chamberlain von Bülow also seemed to have some
power over him, but not nearly so much as his colleague. But on this
occasion Caroline Matilda had joined the travelling party, and had become
the chief personage, through the king's growing weakness. She was also of
opinion that no peace could be thought of so long as Holck was suffered
in the king's presence. Although Struensee no longer regarded the king's
former intimate as dangerous, still, to pacify the queen, he proposed
to her to recall two gentlemen from banishment who had formerly been
esteemed by the monarch.

On June 13, the count arrived at Gottorp Castle, in the town of
Schleswig, which had been occupied since 1769 by the king's favourite
sister and her husband, the viceroy of the duchies, Landgrave Charles.
The latter drove out a league to meet their royal relations; and
the meeting was most cordial, especially between the queen and her
sister-in-law, who had not met since Caroline Matilda's marriage. The
king, too, seemed at first greatly pleased at the meeting; spoke a good
deal with the landgrave, and at dinner invited him to come as soon as he
could to Copenhagen, as many of the Holsteiners would follow the example
of their viceroy. But the court soon assumed a more earnest character
during the few days they remained at Gottorp. Weighty changes were
preparing; the ground was shaking under the feet of many great gentlemen;
and Struensee's power had already grown so great, that he was able to
carry out the recall of Brandt to court, which took place here.

We have seen that page Enevold Brandt, after his banishment from court
and the country, paid his respects to the king in Paris, but derived no
particular advantage from the step. In the next year, 1769, however, on
the queen's birthday, he was nominated titular chamberlain, and soon
after received a post and a vote in the Oldenburg government.[110]
Bernstorff and Schimmelmann, who had always favoured Struensee, took
Brandt's part too; and even Holck is said to have solicited his
appointment in a distant land. But he was not prepared for Brandt's
return to court circles, and he was greatly surprised on unexpectedly
coming across his old opponent at Gottorp. Brandt, noticing this, turned
to Holck with the sharp remark: "I fancy, my lord count, that you are
afraid of ghosts (_des spectres_)?" To which Holck gave him the bitterly
true answer: "Oh non, monsieur le chambellan, je ne crains pas les
spectres mais les revenants."

It was noticed with regret by the queen's friends during this journey,
that she seemed to forget the noble self-respect and attractive modesty
which adorned her even more than her beauty; and that she indulged in
sports and amusements which only too easily thrust those virtues in
the background. Her youth knew no caution, her good heart rendered her
careless of the opinion of the world, and her lively temper made her leap
over barriers which she ought never to have crossed, if her reputation
had been dear to her.[111] Prince Charles, her brother-in-law, gives us
a melancholy account, in his "Mémoires de mon Temps," of the deleterious
influence Struensee was already beginning to exercise over her. Still, it
is only fair to remember, in quoting the landgrave, that he was a bitter
enemy of Struensee:--

"After an hour's conversation (on arriving at Gottorp), in which we
recalled anecdotes of past times, the queen took me by the arm and said:
'Lead me to the cabinet of Princess Louisa, but do not make me pass
through the ante-chamber in which the court is.' We almost ran along the
corridor to the back door by the side of the staircase, when we saw some
of the suite coming up the stairs. The queen noticed Struensee, and said
to me before the door: 'No, no, no; I must return; do not keep me.' I
remarked to her, that I could not leave her alone in the passage. 'No,
no, no; return to the princess:' and she fled along the passage. This
struck me greatly; but I obeyed. She was always embarrassed with me when
Struensee was present. At table he was always seated opposite to her."

Further on, we read of another humiliating scene:--

"The king's dinner was dull. The queen afterwards played at quinze. I
was placed on her right, Struensee on her left; Brandt, a new arrival,
and Warnstedt, a chamberlain, completed the party. I hardly like to
describe Struensee's behaviour and the remarks he openly dared address to
the queen while leaning his arm on the table, close to her. 'Well, why
don't you play? can't you hear?' (Nun, spielen Sie doch, haben Sie nicht
gehört?) I confess my heart was broken to see this princess, endowed with
so much sense and good qualities, fallen to such a point, and into such
bad hands.... The king and queen went to Traventhal with the whole court,
who had followed them to Gottorp. My wife and I did not join the party,
nor was it proposed to us to do so, for Traventhal was chosen for the
least decent orgies. They had only been there a few days, when the whole
court was dismissed."

At Traventhal the king and queen remained a month; and it was here that
the foundation was laid of the state edifice which Struensee had resolved
to raise. He believed that he possessed the requisite ability to do so;
and he was supported by the favour of his royal patrons. But he was
deficient in two most important qualities,--the necessary caution to be
observed in such daring designs, and personal courage in carrying them

Brandt's appearance at Gottorp was merely the introduction to his
brilliant career of two short years, for he was soon after re-appointed
to the Supreme Court, and, at the same time, made director of the
French plays, the Academy, and the picture gallery. Struensee, Von
Warnstedt, and Brandt, had, from this time, a decided influence over
the king. The only thing remaining to do was to recall to court Count
Rantzau-Ascheberg, the second of the two men upon whose assistance
Struensee specially calculated to carry out his reforms, and whose recall
he had proposed to Caroline Matilda, for the queen was afraid lest the
ministry might attempt to restore Holck in the king's favour, by removing
those persons who now stood in the favourite's way.

But it did not even need Rantzau's assistance to overthrow Holck; for,
in addition to the queen's dislike, he had to contend against Brandt
and Warnstedt's open hostility; and even Struensee, who had, on two
occasions, induced the king to make his extravagant favourite a gift of
10,000 dollars, was obliged to join in the cabal. But what dealt the
final blow in Holck's downfall was the fact that the king was tired of
his former favourite, because his weak state of health did not allow
him to take part in the pleasures usually arranged by Holck. At the
same time, Holck had taken Brandt's letter but little to heart, and
constantly neglected his duties, especially in the summer of 1769, when
he spent several days at his summer house, revelling with actors and
actresses, without thinking of his functions as marshal of the court.

Toward the end of July, Count Conrad von Holck was dismissed from his
office with a pension of 2,000 dollars, and his fall was followed by
the removal of his sister, Frau von der Lühe, from her post as first
lady-in-waiting on the queen. At the same time, Conferenzrath von der
Lühe, Privy-Councillor von Holstein, Gustavus von Holck, Chamberlain von
Lüttichau, Lady-in-waiting von Eyben, and the Maids of Honour von Trolle
and Von Wedel, were ordered to return to Copenhagen. This order attracted
considerable attention, though it was stated that the royal family
intended to stay some time in the duchies, and the castle was not large
enough for a numerous suite. Still, these were merely court incidents,
which could have no effect on the state, but ere long other occurrences
happened which related to public affairs. The first of these was the
appearance of Count Shack zu Rantzau-Ascheberg on the political scene.

This gentleman, one of the principal performers in the coming tragedy,
was descended from the oldest family in Holstein. His father, who had
been raised to the dignity of Count of the Empire, in 1728, by the
Emperor Charles VII., possessed the large estates of Ascheberg and
Breitenburg in Holstein, Lindau and others in Schleswig. His son, Shack
Karl, was born on March 11, 1717. At the age of eighteen, he was captain
in an infantry regiment, and afterwards removed to the Grenadiers. In
1746, he became a chamberlain; and after being attached, in 1750, to the
crown prince's regiment as brevet colonel, he was promoted to be full
colonel of the regiment in 1752. In the following July he was appointed
a major-general, but dismissed two days after.

Rantzau went to France, and served under Maréchal de Löwendal; but,
one fine day, he left his regiment in order to attach himself to the
car of an Italian singing woman. During his amorous odyssey, he passed
through all sorts of adventures, and assumed all sorts of shapes, like
a veritable Proteus. At one time, he appeared with all the splendour
becoming his birth and condition; at another, he lived at Rome in a
monk's gown. For some time, he remained _incognito_ with a troupe of
comedians. During this career he often ran short of money, and at
times procured it how he could. He was tried criminally in Sicily for
swindling; and, at Naples, the French envoy had to hush up an ugly matter
in consideration of his family. At Genoa, he impudently drew a bill on
his father, "the Viceroy of Norway," though his father was only a plain
country gentleman, and had turned him up long before.

In 1761, on the death of Elizabeth, when a war was anticipated between
Russia and Denmark, Rantzau had the impudence to offer his services to
Peter III. as a Holstein gentleman who had a right to serve his duke.
His offer was spurned, and Rantzau swore revenge. He wormed himself into
the confidence of the Empress Catharine and Count Orloff; and was mixed
up in the conspiracy against Peter III. As he was coldly treated, and
passed over instead of being rewarded when Catharine ascended the throne,
he returned to Holstein very angry, and brooding over revenge. It was at
this period that his fatal connection with Struensee commenced, as we
have seen.

Soon after the death of Frederick V., Rantzau acquired the favour of
Count St. Germain, who was omnipotent at court; and the latter procured
him the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1766, and, in the following year,
the chief command of the Norwegian army. He behaved in a very reckless
manner, and was suddenly dismissed from active service in 1768, after
Bernstorff and Saldern had succeeded in removing St. Germain from his
post as generalissimo of the army and head of the War Office.[112]
After this, Rantzau returned to Holstein, where he inherited the family
estates, on the death of his father, in 1769.

Through his marriage with the eldest daughter of his uncle, Count Rantzau
Oppendorf, Count Shack had taken a step by which to unite the estates of
the two families; but he led a most licentious life, which resulted in
a divorce, and his poor wife fell into a state of melancholy bordering
on mania. All sorts of gallant adventures had entangled him in duels,
and he had killed several of his opponents. A respected man, whose
daughter he seduced, also challenged him, and was shot by him. Rantzau
was inconsolable at this, begged the widow's forgiveness on his knees,
married her seduced daughter with the left hand, and settled a large
annuity on the mother and her remaining children. But time and fresh
love affairs removed the impression which this sad event had made on the
gay gentleman, and he soon returned to his former licentious life. His
extravagance was so great that he was said to have lit his pipe with
10-dollar notes at some gay parties. But he was a very kindly landlord
to his serfs, so that they positively adored him, and venerated him as a

Though the negotiations for this man's return to court were kept very
secret by the queen's party, they did not escape Bernstorff, who saw
the black clouds that announced his fall continually drawing nearer.
The premier was sincerely attached to the Russian court, and had in
his day effected Rantzau's downfall. Hence he addressed the king in
writing, and called his attention to the displeasure which Rantzau's
recall would arouse in Petersburg. The contents of the letter were
imparted to Rantzau, who, in consequence, promised not to interfere in
the negotiations with the Russian court about the exchange of provinces.
As Bernstorff could no longer prevent the count's return to the service
of the state, he exerted himself to reduce the ill-impression it must
produce in Russia, and thus the last obstacle was removed from Rantzau's

Unfortunately, Rantzau, during his residence at Petersburg, and through
the part he played there, had an opportunity to learn secrets and witness
actions which enabled him to regard the Russian court from a point of
view which it desired to conceal eternally from the sight of the world.
This was the reason why the Russian empress could never forgive Caroline
Matilda and her adviser Struensee for recalling this man to favour.[115]

While the king and queen were at Traventhal, Rantzau was introduced to
them, and had the honour of receiving a visit from them at Ascheberg,
where he did everything in his power to divert his exalted guests.
Each day had its special festivities and amusements: music, hunting,
fishing, sailing on the lake, and rustic sports, which, more than any
other pastime, pleased the imbecile king. The queen, fully satisfied with
the respect that Count Rantzau had shown her, and little dreaming of
the share her attentive host was to have in her fall, gave him a superb
snuff-box set with brilliants, which had cost her husband a thousand
guineas in London.

All the efforts made to amuse Christian met with but slight success,
for he seemed to be sunk in thought, and everything that went on around
him, the numerous changes of situation and persons, no longer produced
any interest for him. The effects of former excesses on his frail
constitution became but too evident, while his mental abilities only
shone forth now and then in the shape of satire. One day, at Traventhal,
when Christian had been bothered with signing the commissions of a number
of new conference councillors, and the matter was talked about at dinner,
the king turned to his favourite dog, Gourmand, lying at his feet, and
said, "Can you bark?" And when the dog, on whose paws Christian trod,
began barking and growling, his master said, "Well, as you can bark, you
can be a conference councillor too;" after which he rose from his seat,
and proposed the health of the new Councillor Gourmand, to which the
whole court responded, in accordance with etiquette. Not satisfied with
this, the king insisted on the same salary being paid Gourmand as his
human colleagues. This joke was a bitter pill for Struensee's pride, for
the Holck faction continually addressed the dog as _Conferentie Raad_,
in mockery of the favourite's new-horn honours.

The recall of Count Rantzau-Ascheberg to court on the part of the queen
and Struensee was only carried out, in all probability, in order to
secure their own position and that of the new household. According to
Reverdil, the latter was very badly selected; two ladies of notorious
gallantry, Von Bülow and Von Gähler, were appointed in waiting, and the
manners of the court were of such a free and easy nature, that even
old Rantzau was surprised at it. "When I was extravagant," he said,
"everybody else was respectable; now that age has regulated my heart
and my conduct, everybody has gone mad. I fell with a great man, and
return with a few scamps." Struensee had, in truth, already commenced
his deplorable system of rendering the court bourgeoise, and keeping
the nobility aloof. He forgot that in this way he increased the number
of his enemies. Up to this time, however, the favourite had formed no
settled plan of action against the ministry. The queen herself had not
the slightest wish to mix herself up in the affairs of government, and
even though Struensee possessed sufficient self-confidence, and felt
himself strong enough to overthrow Bernstorff and the old noble party in
the council of state, he was still uncertain about the consequences of
Rantzau's return, as he was well acquainted with his ambition. But long
before his appointment at court, Struensee had been prejudiced against
the government, and had probably just heard from Rantzau and Brandt
reports, in whose trustworthiness he could rely. What he afterwards
witnessed in Copenhagen only confirmed what he had heard. The principal
charge he brought against the ministers was, that they purposely sought
to turn the king against any participation in government business,
by producing unnecessarily dry and formal documents, and drawing up
the papers laid before him for decision in a diffuse and perplexing
manner. They rarely left the king a choice between two alternatives;
but persuaded him to sanction the resolution on which they had decided

All those persons who took an interest in the king and gained his
confidence and attachment, were systematically removed from him, and
only those whom he disliked retained their posts. The highest offices
were given through favour and intrigues to courtiers, whose sole merit
consisted in the fact that they had been pages, while appointments
of less value were bestowed on the lackeys and domestics of those in

The whole condition of the kingdom was becoming an anarchy; for no
one dared to exert his authority through the fear of injuring himself.
Every official strove to gain influence beyond his own sphere, and
subordination hardly existed. The state finances were ruined, mostly
through want of order in the administration and improper use of the
revenues of the state. For many years past, the influence which foreign
powers had exerted over the government through their envoys, had been
excessively great and oppressively felt, although a counter pressure
had been attempted by costly Danish embassies. Lastly, public affairs
and the general welfare suffered from the great number of large and
small officials, and a regular trade was carried on in titles of honour
and distinctions. It was, consequently, very natural that Struensee
should try to effect improvements, so soon as he felt his own position
sufficiently secure to enable him to attempt the necessary reforms.

It is equally certain that similar ideas were entertained in another
quarter; for, during the king's journey, general plans for reforming the
administration, and the necessary steps for overthrowing the present
council of state, were discussed by General von Gähler, who had a seat
in the College of War, and Count Rantzau. The private correspondence
carried on between them contained some thirty feigned titles for persons
mentioned in it; for instance, _le silencieux, la bête_, and so on. Holck
was probably meant by the last honourable title. General St. Germain,
who was living in retirement at Worms, was also let into the secret,
as the common friend of Rantzau and Gähler, and informed of the state
of the secret negotiations. Struensee, it is true, did not consider any
one of the ministers as specially to blame for the bad administration;
but Bernstorff was universally regarded as the most powerful man in the
state, and was personally detested by Rantzau. That Bernstorff, after the
return of the royal pair from Ascheberg to Traventhal, was not invited to
dinner, was doubtless done with the object of irritating him, and urging
him to send in his resignation. This hope, however, was not fulfilled.

The overthrow of Holck and his party was a terrible warning for the
premier, and he discovered too late how incautiously he had acted, and
how dangerous his position had become. The support of Russia appeared
to him the only chance of salvation; he therefore informed Filosofow
of all that occurred, and the latter hastened to him at once. But the
time of his prestige was gone, and he only arrived to be an humiliated
witness of the triumph of his worst enemy. Past was the time of the
Russian authority over the Danish court: when the mere threat of stopping
the territorial exchange set the king and his ministers in the greatest
alarm: when an omnipotent Saldern raised and overthrew the servants of
the Danish court in accordance with the interests of his own, enjoyed
honours which had never been granted to a foreign envoy, and carried
through the king's tour against the wishes of all his ministers. Past,
too, was the day when a haughty Filosofow wrote directly to this weak
monarch, when the latter wished to give an important command in his army
to Count von Görtz, a friend of Count St. Germain: "I have orders from
my court to quit yours, and break off all intercourse, sooner than allow
this dangerous and intriguing man to enter your service." Struensee,
whose influence was beginning to spread over all the affairs of court and
state, had inoculated the king with very different ideas.[117]

During the residence at Traventhal, Caroline Matilda presented a pair of
colours to her regiment quartered in the fortress of Glückstadt, whose
commander was Rantzau. The presentation of these colours occasioned
a military festival; and, in remembrance of it, the king ordered his
painter, Als, to paint an historical picture, representing the queen
in life-size in the uniform of a colonel of her regiment. On the 16th
June, 1771, this picture was given by the queen to Count Rantzau, and is
probably preserved by the family as an historical souvenir.


[Footnote 101: This private journal was kept in 1774. In 1796, when
preparing his "Courts of Vienna, Berlin," &c., for press, my grandfather
endorsed it: "The account of the Danish revolution and of Struensee is of
the highest authenticity, and, at the same time, of the most delicate and
secret nature." A great portion of this narrative has been worked into my
text; but I have not thought it necessary, in every instance, to quote my

[Footnote 102: There was no truth in this report, for Struensee was
devotedly attached to a Mrs. B----, whose acquaintance he had formed in
England, and wore her miniature round his neck even at his execution.]

[Footnote 103: Reverdil, pp. 147, 148.]

[Footnote 104: In "Northern Courts" it is stated that the two men were
in love with the wife of General von Gähler, and that the Russian,
knowing that an ambassador could not meet a doctor with the sword, took
the cowardly revenge of inflicting a severe castigation on Struensee
with a cane--a mode of discipline to which he had himself been often
subjected at Petersburg. It is also stated by the same author, that Frau
von Gähler's motive for dismissing the Russian was, because he refused
to join the queen's party. If this is authentic, we may conclude that
the crafty envoy, even at that time, saw in the queen an opponent of the
Philo-Russian policy of the Copenhagen cabinet.]

[Footnote 105: "Authentische Aufklärungen."]

[Footnote 106: "Authentische Aufklärungen."]

[Footnote 107: Struensee had taken riding lessons in England of Astley.]

[Footnote 108: Doctor Johann Scherr, one of the most inveterate
assailants of the queen's honour, does not hesitate to quote in
connection with the "reader," the beautiful episode of Paolo and
Francesca, in the fifth canto of the Inferno, ending with the line:

    "Quel giorno più non vi legemmo avante."

[Footnote 109: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 49.]

[Footnote 110: The reader will please bear in mind that the definitive
exchange of the Oldenburg counties was not carried out till after
Struensee's downfall. The original agreement was, that it should be
delayed till the Grand Duke Paul attained his majority, and then he gave
it his sanction.]

[Footnote 111: "Authentische Aufklärungen," pp. 49-50.]

[Footnote 112: According to Falckenskjold ("Mémoires sur Struensee,"
p. 109), Rantzau tried to thwart the Holstein exchange, and made
a conspiracy with Count Görtz and Borck, the Prussian minister at
Copenhagen, to overthrow the Danish government, and bring into power a
party hostile to Russia. This plot having been foiled by Saldern, Rantzau
was exiled to Glückstadt.]

[Footnote 113: Mr. N. W. Wraxall's informant did not mince matters when
alluding to Rantzau, for he said: "He is a most infamous man, a liar,
a coward, a man capable, from the meanest motives, of betraying his
longest and best friends." Cautious Sir R. M. Keith also judged Rantzau
correctly, and wrote about him in a letter to his father: "Count Rantzau,
at this moment Lieutenant-General, Confidential Councillor, Knight of
the Queen's Order, &c., would, if he had lived within reach of Justice
Fielding, have furnished matter for an Old Bailey trial any one year of
the last twenty of his life."]

[Footnote 114: According to Reverdil, Rantzau proposed at this time to
make a league with Bernstorff, the man whom he hated most in the world,
and upset the Traventhal cabal. Of course, he only meant it as a trap;
but it gives a further clue to the man's character.]

[Footnote 115: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 263.]

[Footnote 116: In the first number of his Magazine, Struensee had
published an epigram, pointed at this state of matters in Copenhagen:--

              "An die Fürsten.
    Ihr heisst mit Recht die Fürsten dieser Erde,
    Denn Ihr erschafft: o schöne That!
    Ihr sprechet ein allmächtig: Werde!
    Schnell wird aus dem Lakai ein--Rath."

(To the Princes.--You are justly called the princes of the earth, for you
create; ah! glorious deed: you utter an almighty be! and quickly a lackey
becomes a--Councillor.)]

[Footnote 117: "Authentische Aufklärungen," pp. 51, 52.]




On June 9, 1770, the Dowager Princess of Wales set out with her son, the
Duke of Gloucester, and a numerous retinue from Carlton House _en route_
for the Continent. As this was the first time during thirty-four years
that her royal highness had quitted England, her departure gave rise
to the wildest conjectures among her opponents. As mystery and policy
were imputed to all her motives by the so-called liberal party, her
declaration, straightforward though it was, that she was going to visit
her brother and her daughters, was not believed. Some said that she was
going to meet Lord Bute, while others expected that some _coup d'état_
was about to be carried out during her absence, to which she might plead
not having been privy. As the Duke of Gloucester accompanied her, more
charitable persons supposed that she was trying to break off his liaison
with Lady Waldegrave; others, or the uncharitable, declared that the
princess was displeased with the increasing powers of the queen, her
daughter-in-law, while others again supposed that she was conveying her
treasures out of the country for safety.

The resolute old lady cared little what was said about her, and, though
she was hooted as she passed through Canterbury, I dare say her feeling
was, "laudatur ab hiss." She was allowed to embark quietly at Dover,
and, much to Walpole's affected surprise, no bonfires or illuminations
took place in London in honour of her departure. The princess ostensibly
wanted to see her daughter, the Princess of Brunswick, probably for
some little family intrigue; but the journey was really intended to the
address of Caroline Matilda. Some good-natured friend had told George
III. an exaggerated story about his sister's conduct; and this, together
with the political crisis which was preparing in Denmark, led to the
Princess of Wales's journey. In those benighted days it was considered
of the utmost importance by English ministers that Bernstorff should
remain in power, because he was devoted to Russia, and thus prevented a
Gallo-Danish alliance.

It was arranged that the Princess of Wales and her daughter should meet
at Brunswick, and the ducal court made great preparations to receive the
exalted guests worthily, but at the moment when the King and Queen of
Denmark were expected, the grand marshal arrived with news that Queen
Matilda was unwell and unable to travel. I can hardly think that her
illness was of a very serious nature, or lasted any length of time. The
court usually played cards at Traventhal till midnight, and were out
riding by five in the morning, for the days seemed too short for pleasure.

However this might be, the Princess of Wales would not be disappointed,
and proposed a second meeting at Lüneburg, a town much nearer Denmark
than Brunswick was. The King and Queen of Denmark arrived, their suite
only consisting of Struensee and Warnstedt, who were seated in the
carriage with them. They arrived late and tired; when the princess
addressed her daughter in English, a language which Struensee did not
understand, the queen pretended to have forgotten it. The conversation
was cold and constrained; they retired to bed at an early hour, met again
at eleven A.M., and parted again in the afternoon. Caroline Matilda
did the civil thing by asking her mother and brother to pay a visit to
Copenhagen, which was declined politely, and they never met again.[118]

Horace Walpole, who reminds me greatly of Father Holt, in "Esmond," who
wished to be supposed omniscient, but was every now and then detected
in some jumbling details which destroyed his claim to authenticity,
describes the interview between mother and daughter with as much
circumstantiality as if he had been present. He says, that when the
princess lamented the fall of Bernstorff, the old servant of the family,
the Queen of Denmark said, "Pray, madam, allow me to govern my kingdom
as I please." Unfortunately for the story, Bernstorff had not yet been
overthrown. However, I dare say that some conversation did take place
about the premier, and that Caroline Matilda showed her hand too openly.

The Princess of Wales returned to England, after requesting Mr. Woodford,
her son's minister in Lower Saxony, who was at Lüneburg, to seek an
opportunity for insinuating a portion of what she had intended to say
to her daughter. Another minister, who passed through Copenhagen on his
way to Sweden, having been intrusted by the King of England with some
remonstrances for his sister, was not admitted. This monarch, also, wrote
the most earnest letters: the first was very coldly received, and the
rest not even read. We see that everybody had entered into a conspiracy
to misunderstand Caroline Matilda's motives, and attribute the lowest of
causes to her intimacy with Struensee; even her own family, who should
have known her better, believed that in so short a time she had forgotten
the lessons of her youth, and would not see that she was forced into her
present position, because her pride would not allow her to be dictated to
by the ministers, and insulted by foreign envoys. Because she selected
the only man as an ally whom she thought she could take without danger,
she was accused of forgetting her marriage vows, and no one would give
her credit for more exalted motives. Had George III. been able to draw
a distinction between the lover and the friend, he should have rejoiced
at the intimacy between his sister and Struensee, because the latter was
determined to break the power of Russia in Denmark; but he was a man of
low birth, and naturally such a person could only be favoured by a queen
through the very lowest of motives.[119] Perhaps, though, in those days
when virtue was considered a most troublesome attribute, King George can
hardly be blamed for the opinion which he formed of his sister's conduct.
In fact, the king's own truthfulness and rectitude were very injurious
to Caroline Matilda. He believed what he was told, and remonstrated with
his sister instead of examining into the reports more closely, while she,
naturally offended that her brother dared to insult her by entertaining
such suspicions, neglected all prudence, and rendered the breach between
them irreparable.

From Lüneburg, the royal couple hastened back to Copenhagen, and
proceeded, on August 24, to the palace of Frederiksborg. This palace,
which was burnt down in January, 1860, was the Versailles of Denmark, and
erected by Christian IV. from 1606-1620. It was built on three small
islets connected by bridges, in a lake, and the chief wing so completely
covered this island, that it seemed to rise directly from the water.
In one of the state rooms leading to the royal closet in the chapel,
Caroline Matilda wrote with a diamond, upon the window, the touching

    "Oh, keep me innocent, make others great."

The country around the palace is remarkably fine, and the drives and
walks through the forest are beautiful.[120] It is not surprising,
therefore, that the queen should make it her favourite residence, owing
to her love of exercise and privacy.

That the residence of the royal couple at Traventhal was not devoted to
frivolous orgies, as the enemies of the queen and Struensee, and even
her princely brother-in-law at Gottorp asserted, has been sufficiently
proved. On the contrary, the time was employed in meditating the mode of
carrying out great reforms, though what extent they would have depended
on the future. The condition of the king was now of such a sad nature
that he helplessly signed the orders laid before him for his assent.
Struensee was the only man who was still able to make the king form a
resolution by his quiet remarks, and the stay at Frederiksborg, away
from the seat of government, was purposely selected, in order to carry
through the reforms already arranged with the queen, without any external
opposition, and to bring them to the knowledge of the public. Count
Rantzau-Ascheberg had, in the meanwhile, preceded the returning court,
and arrived at Copenhagen by August 14. Two days after his arrival in
the capital, he was appointed third deputy of the War Department. It
can hardly be believed that he had done so much to obtain so little:
indeed, it had been at first arranged that he should be placed at the
head of this department by the retirement of his two seniors, but one
of them was Gähler, the husband of the pretty and docile woman who had
become so necessary at court, and the other was an old friend of the
queen. Rantzau also retained the command of the queen's regiment, and
was likewise appointed on the 29th of the same month commandant of
Glückstadt, though he remained in Copenhagen. Still, it was a great error
on the part of Struensee to have placed so ambitious a man as Rantzau in
such a subaltern position, and it proved that he possessed but little
common sense or knowledge of the human heart. In politics it is wrong to
be ungrateful, and more especially to be so by halves. After what had
passed, Rantzau could no longer remain indifferent, and a man of that
character does a great deal of evil or a great deal of good. Therefore,
he ought to have been appointed minister, or else exiled.[121]

At the same time, however, a man reappeared in the capital in whom the
opposite party fancied they had a support against Rantzau. This was
Major-General Chevalier Michael Filosofow, who had just been appointed
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Russia. He had
arrived three weeks previously in Hamburg, but had not hurried to reach
Copenhagen, probably because he did not expect much from a speedy return
to the capital. In the latter case he was perfectly right: for in the
present state of affairs the most speedy return would have been too late
for him and his designs.

In order to furnish a just idea of the reforms which Struensee undertook,
it is necessary to take a glance at the state of Denmark at the period
when he assumed the administration. Before the war against Charles
Gustavus, King of Sweden, the government of Denmark had been a thorough
oligarchy, much like that of Poland. The chief power was vested in the
hands of the nobles, or of a senate composed of their representatives,
and entrusted with their interests: the crown was elective, and the king
had no authority but what the senate left him. The clergy had lost their
power and wealth through the Reformation. An almost absolute despotism
weighed on the citizens of the capital and the other towns, though their
deputies figured as a species of third estate in the diets of the nation:
the country people, _adstricti glebæ_, were divided among the noble
landowners like herds of cattle, and were employed by them to till the

In 1660, the citizens of Copenhagen, who had just repulsed the Swedes
from their walls, took advantage of their momentary strength to change
the government; they abolished the senate, rendered the crown hereditary,
and by a solemn treaty unreservedly handed over the whole power to their
king, Frederick III., both for himself and his heirs for ever, hoping,
doubtless, that the yoke of a single master would be less oppressive than
that of a caste of nobles.

Frederick III. regulated the absolute power with which he was invested,
and in order to compensate the nobility in some measure for what they had
lost, he called to him the most considerable of them and formed them into
a privy council, which was, as it were, the image of that senate by which
the nation had been so long governed. But his successor, Christian V.,
gave his entire confidence to Schumacker, the son of a wine merchant, who
governed Denmark skilfully under the title of Count von Griffenfeldt, and
this system was continued even after the favourite's fall.

Under the following reigns, as the sovereigns still suspected the
nobility of their country, they summoned foreigners into their service;
and as this policy was persisted in, foreigners gradually seized on
not only the home and foreign offices, but even the most considerable
civil and military posts. These foreigners, not having any relatives or
friends in the country, and not being always able to obtain subordinates
from abroad, chose their confidential agents among their most devoted
servants, and procured them advantageous posts as a reward, or else to
secure them as partisans. This example was soon followed by the natives;
and just as in ancient Rome the power fell into the hands of freed men,
lackeys became in Denmark influential personages, who did not limit their
ambition to subaltern employments.

In proportion as foreigners and people in their service assumed a greater
share in the government, offices, appointments, and pensions were
multiplied; and under the specious pretext of benefiting the interests of
the state or the public, a multitude of establishments were erected, with
the requisite officers to manage them and perform the different duties.
Some served the prince, others managed the finances and crown lands, or
entered the army, the police, or the law. There were establishments for
the relief of the poor, for the advancement of the arts and sciences,
education, agriculture, trade, and manufactures, and they were required
for everything.

Just as the state displayed its luxury in land and sea forces, at
foreign courts and at home, each branch of the administration had also
its abundance of officers, registrars and clerks. Still, beyond certain
limits, it is impossible to endow new officers without trenching on
the salaries of the old ones: hence it happened that, in excessively
increasing the number of clerks, the wages of the majority were reduced
to the most moderate rate. As money ran short, recourse was had to titles
and honorary distinctions, the etiquette of each rank being settled with
the minutest details, as well as the respect or deference attaching to
it. When it was decided that rank and titles conferred by the government
should receive the honours and consideration due to merit, there was an
eager rush to obtain them. The tradesman left his counter, the artisan
his shop, the plain citizen gave up his modest livelihood, in order
to acquire a title and become somebody. This vanity, penetrating all
classes, gave a great impulse to luxury and ostentation.

Government was not chary in granting a largess that cost it so little. It
accorded titles to favour: it gave them as reward for services, and even
sold them. Rank soon ceased to be exclusively attached to office, and
more than once encroached on the principles of military subordination.
Thus, an officer in the army would take precedence of his commander,
and bring the rules of discipline under those of etiquette. Still, it
appeared that the profusion of titles, far from inspiring disgust,
strengthened the mania for them: men were ashamed not to have what so
many people possessed.

Eminent titles, such as those of Count or Baron, retained a portion of
their privileges: those who held them could not be arrested for debt, and
they found at their manors an asylum against criminal prosecutions until
sentence was passed. These estates, which were partly free from taxes,
could not be confiscated even for high treason, and were transmissible
by inalienable succession from eldest son to eldest son. These noble
landowners exercised the rights of high and low jurisdiction on their
estates, and these privileges recalled the olden times of lordly rule.
But nothing recalled it so much as the serfdom which continued to oppress
the class of peasants, and the militia duties appeared to double the

Nevertheless, we must allow that this numerous and interesting portion
of the population was not quite forgotten. In each district, a bailiff
administering on royal account either the lands taken from the clergy at
the Reformation, or lapsed feudal estates and the other domains of the
crown, had among his other duties that of hearing the complaints of the
peasants against their lords, and protecting them against oppression.
But the bailiff could not always be found at home, and was not always
disposed to compromise his own interests in sustaining those of the

A portion of the woes of Denmark evidently resulted from these old
institutions; and many of the abuses would have sprung up without the
interference of foreigners. Besides, it is indubitable that there were
men of merit among the foreigners called in to govern the country:
but the best intentioned nearly all committed the error of trying to
introduce a system successfully carried out in other countries, without
considering that it agreed neither with the wants of Denmark nor her
resources; in this they resembled a farmer who plants exotics in his
fields, instead of cultivating those suited to the ground and the climate.

In this way, academies of science and fine arts were established
at Copenhagen, in imitation of the nations farthest advanced in
civilization. Under the ministry preceding Struensee, learned men had
been sent at the king's expense to the East, for the purpose of studying
its monuments and antiquities, as if Denmark were in a position to make
such sacrifices to satisfy curiosity: thus new trades were introduced,
new manufactures undertaken, without consulting the resources of the
country and the merchants, and they had no other effect but impoverishing
the Treasury. In the same way money was squandered in sending envoys
to look after interests unconnected with the country; and following
the example of powerful nations, armaments were made, intended to be
imposing, but which, being disproportionate to the real strength of
Denmark, only served to prove her weakness.

Although the state had enjoyed uninterrupted peace since 1720, the errors
of the administration had produced the effect of a cruel war: the debt
of 20,000,000 of dollars was tending to increase instead of diminishing.
The burdens that oppressed it not only prevented its strength from
developing, but seemed daily to weaken it. It languished like a robust
body, threatening to fall into a state of atrophy, because unable to
perform its natural functions freely. A species of constraint was felt
from the throne down to the lowest classes, and reforms seemed to be
invoked by the public voice.[122]

The royal family remained for ten days at Frederiksborg, but this short
stay was rendered remarkable by the first appearance of a royal message
without the adhesion of the Council of State or other administrative
authorities. As it is notorious that this message was proposed to
the king by Struensee, the latter's participation in the government
is generally dated from this period. The message contained various
regulations, bearing the date of September 14, and was of a very
important nature. The first related to the future restriction in granting
titles. We read in it that the number of persons who had, during the last
year, been granted titles on festal occasions, or through recommendation,
had grown so enormously large that distinctions of this nature had
ceased to be a reward for services, or a proof of special royal favour.
Hence the king had resolved to grant such distinctions, in future, more
sparingly, and only for their real purpose. Henceforth regard would
solely be had, in such cases, to faithful performance of duties, zeal and
diligence in office, and special abilities. Government officials, who
recommended persons for honorary distinctions, would be responsible that
no undeserving person obtained them.[123]

The writer and suggester of this proclamation certainly deserved the
thanks of his contemporaries; and all sensible persons were pleased
at this message from their sovereign. The second decree referred to
the quarrel then going on with the Dey of Algiers. A commission was
appointed, consisting of Count Rantzau-Ascheberg, Lieutenant-General von
Gähler, Vice-Admiral von Römeling, and the Schoutbynacht (Rear-Admiral)
Hoogland, whose duty it would be to inquire whether Algiers could be
taken, or the city so injured that the dey would be compelled to make
peace, or whether satisfaction must be extorted from the piratical
prince in some other way. The appointment of this commission entailed an
investigation into the conduct of Admiral Kaas and all the promoters of
the unsuccessful expedition against the piratical state, which had cost
Denmark 2,000,000 dollars. A few words about this strange affair may be
advisable here.

The Dey of Algiers, though he was quite absolute, or, perhaps, from
the fact of his absolutism, was obliged to humour his army and keep
it in good temper. The troops, who lived principally on plunder, were
very annoyed at the truces, or treaties of peace, concluded with nearly
all the maritime powers. The tribute which the nations of second
rank consented to pay, in order to buy the safety of their commerce,
represented the prince's share of the plunder; but the soldiers insisted
on having a nation given up to them every now and then, as a compensation
for their trade depression. Sieur Oerboë, the Danish consul, not having
been able to take the right steps, on the expiration of his treaty in
1769, for its renewal, the dey gave him orders to withdraw in three days,
and all the subjects of the king in six weeks, alleging as motive that
the Danes had favoured the Russians in their war with the Sublime Porte,
and had abused the safety granted to their flag by protecting the trade
of hostile nations.

The Copenhagen cabinet began by negotiating at Constantinople; and it was
settled with the Porte that Denmark should send an expedition which would
intimidate the troops of Algiers, and prevent them from murmuring at the
facility with which the dey revoked his orders; and that at the same
time, in order to contradict the rumours of the pretended aid to Russia,
the Danish squadron should have on board a messenger from his highness,
bearing instructions to the dey to renew the peace. Bernstorff, who had
been the founder of the Danish Levant trade, and was naturally very proud
of his bantling, intrusted the embassy to Vice-Admiral Kaas, who had
performed, a few years previously, a similar commission to the Emperor of
Morocco in a satisfactory manner.

Bernstorff proposed to Count Laurvig, the head of the Admiralty, that
the squadron should be composed of three men-of-war, two frigates, and
two bomb-ketches; and Laurvig, without consulting with his colleagues,
decided that this force was sufficient. As Denmark possessed no
bomb-ketches, merchantmen were purchased and fitted up for the purpose,
which considerably delayed the expedition; and Kaas was not able to leave
the Baltic till 1770. On arriving off Algiers, he first hoisted a white
flag, and the dey sent off a Christian consul to ask what he wanted. He
answered that he demanded peace, reparation for injuries inflicted on his
nation, and the expenses of the expedition. The envoy from the Porte,
who was landed, was hardly listened to, because he spoke on behalf of a
master who was engaged elsewhere, and who was not feared. The negotiation
being at once broken off, Kaas began throwing shells into the city, and
firing at the batteries, but with so little effect, that the Algerines,
in mockery, brought their children down to the beach to fire pistols in
reply to the Danish bomb-ketches. After throwing in seventy-four shells,
the admiral held a council of war, in which he showed that the ketches
were too weak for the duty; that the seams were beginning to open; that
the vessels would suffer more harm from the guns of the forts than they
inflicted on the ramparts; and it was unanimously decided that they must
retire to Mahon and refit.

The most important of the cabinet orders issued, however, was the one
that abolished the censorship, and rendered the press perfectly free.
The king--such was the reason given for a decree which entailed terrible
consequences--was of opinion that it was injurious to the impartial
examination of the truth, and prevented the uprooting of antiquated
errors, if honest-minded patriots, who felt anxious about the general
welfare and the true benefit of their fellow-citizens, were unable to
express their views and convictions openly through the press, assail
abuses, and show up prejudices. Hence his Majesty had determined to
introduce unbounded freedom of the press in all the countries beneath his
sceptre, so that, henceforth, no one would be obliged to subject books
and pamphlets, which he intended to print, to the previous examination
and opinion of the censor.

There is but little doubt that Struensee, in passing this law, hoped that
the _gent écrivassière_ would take advantage of it to abuse Bernstorff,
whose downfall took place almost simultaneously. Unfortunately, the
weapons were turned against himself, for the Danes, constitutionally
prone to stand on ancient customs, disliked the innovations, and, above
all, that they were introduced by a German. One great cause of offence
was, that the decrees emanated from the royal cabinet, and cabinet orders
were a rarity in those days; but, indubitably, the chief annoyance
was felt at the decrees being drawn up in German, which language was
henceforth employed in all public proclamations. For, although German was
the language of the court and the nobles, royal orders, which did not
concern the duchies, had hitherto always been drawn up in Danish.

Before the royal pair left Frederiksborg they were present at the
Copenhagen shooting festival, which honour had only been bestowed on
the citizens before by Queen Charlotte Amelia, consort of Christian V.
Caroline Matilda, however, granted the company an even greater honour,
by firing a shot herself and hitting the popinjay, in which her consort
attempted to imitate her, but made a grand miss. While the queen gained
many hearts by her condescension, she aroused quite as much anger by
her free and easy manners. She appeared at this feast in male clothing,
sitting her horse like a man, which created great scandal among the
females. She did so, however, by the special request of her husband,
who hated ceremony, and, according to his peculiar mania, liked his
wife to display her beautiful form. It is certain that riding _en
homme_ soon after became the prevalent fashion among the fine ladies of

This was one of the long series of errors that Caroline Matilda committed
in her short career. Indeed, ever since she had become intimate with
Frau von Gähler and the other light beauties who formed her court, a
great change had taken place in her, and a defiant recklessness of
public opinion grieved her best friends, and was a terrible mistake in
so puritanical a country as Denmark. The priests took advantage of the
popular feeling, and many a sarcastic allusion to Jezebel could be heard
from the pulpit. Of course, the freedom of the press found a splendid
opening in abuse of the queen and her supposed minion, and the capital
was soon flooded with the most scandalous attacks on the couple. Ere
long, caricatures, in which the queen and her Cicisbeo were represented
in the most ignoble postures; satires, in which the most disgusting
scenes were described, were spread about the city, and not merely pasted
on the walls, but even in the passages of the palace.[125]

The court next proceeded to Hirschholm for the summer. This palace, only
a few miles from the capital, was the most magnificent of all the royal
residences in Denmark, and has been described as the "culminating point
of the luxury and magnificence that sprang up in the reign of Louis XIV."
Adorned externally with all the nicest French refinements in gardening
and pleasure-grounds, it dazzled the eye within by the profusion of solid
silver intermingled with mother-o'-pearl and rock crystal, with which
not only pictures and looking-glasses, but even the very panels of the
audience-chamber, were prodigally encircled.[126] According to the "Old
Chamberlain," this palace was built by Sophia Magdalena, who demolished
the celebrated old castle, and erected a new palace in the middle of the
lake on many thousands of piles driven into the ground, which was formed
of mould brought from a long distance. A large iron gate, standing open,
between high stone pillars, formed the entrance to a wide alley laid out
upon a dyke, leading across the lake to the palace, which was connected
with the land by this avenue only, and occupied the whole of the square
island in the centre of the lake. Above two low ranges of building rose
a broad Italian wing, with a flat roof in the form of a balcony, and
in the middle of it a prodigious gate tower, terminating at top in a
pyramid, supported by four lions couchant, and surmounted with a royal
crown. Through this gateway could be seen a quadrangular court, in which
a fountain, adorned with marble figures, threw up its jets. Two large
pavilions, at the two extremities of the balcony wing, connected this
with the side wing and inner main wing, while two bridges, one on either
side of the palace, communicated with the gardens and stables. The inner
wing had windows toward the palace yard, as well as toward the south
side of the garden beyond the lake, which was very wide, and separated
the palace from the gardens. Two narrow gravel walks, at the foot of the
broad flight of stone steps, ran along the walls of the palace.

In the gardens was a summer-house, which was used as a temporary theatre
for the diversion of Queen Matilda and her companions; and in another
part was a wooden building called a Norway house, containing landscapes
in relief and imitations of rocks, with wooden cottages perched on
them, and wooden roads. In the gardens were numerous fountains, and the
dining-room was also remarkable for a jet d'eau and twelve fountains
which spouted from the sides.[127]

The style of living at Hirschholm matched with the splendour of the
interior. The usual number that sat down to dinner at the king's table
was twelve, alternately five ladies and seven gentlemen, or seven ladies
and five gentlemen. The king cut a wretched figure on these occasions;
but the queen dressed very superbly, and made a noble appearance. The
king and queen were served on gold plate by noble pages; the marshal of
the palace sat at the foot of the table, the chief lady of the household
at the head; and the company opposite to their Majesties.

A table of eighty covers was provided every day in the chamber called the
Rose, for the great officers of state, who were served on silver plate.
At this table Struensee, Brandt, and their friends and favourites, male
and female, used to dine. The courtiers paid Struensee more homage than
they did the king, and even in these early days of his prosperity it was
noticed that he was growing haughty and imperious; but it would have
needed a stronger head than he possessed to withstand the influences of
his sudden change. But a few years before he had been seriously thinking
of going across the ocean to better his fortunes, and now he was a
confidential intimate of royalty, and honoured with the too favourable
consideration of an amiable and accomplished queen.

While the court was at Hirschholm, the measures were taken to liberate
the party of the new era from their dangerous opponent, Count Bernstorff.
For some time past the premier had seen the efforts made to induce him,
by insult or coarse allusions, voluntarily to retire; and he had seen
equally clearly that his reception from the king was growing more and
more cold. He asked himself the question, whether he should anticipate
his fate or await it. He chose the latter course, and soon after gave
occasion for still greater zeal on the part of those who were preparing
his overthrow. Without heeding Rantzau's promise not to interfere in
the Russian negociations about the exchange of territory, Bernstorff
expressed himself in a report to the king rather freely about the
opponents of the negotiation, and as Rantzau at once learned the fact
from Struensee, he resolved to be avenged. It may be assumed that the
doctor had some share in the count's dismissal, and indeed he did not
deny it afterwards. But he was in an awkward position, for though he
disapproved of Bernstorff's policy, the latter had been his benefactor.
The king, however, was easily persuaded to dismiss his minister, as he
had never liked him.

On September 13, 1770, the king wrote an autograph letter to Bernstorff,
in which he thanked him for past faithful services, but at the same time
intimated that, in consequence of intended changes in the system of
government, he no longer required his advice, and therefore dismissed
him with a pension of 6,000 dollars. Bernstorff was seated at his
writing-table when this letter was handed to him. He read the contents
in silence, and then rose with a look of pain. To Councillor of Legation
Sturtz, who was present, the count said calmly, "I am dismissed from
office," and added, with his eyes raised to heaven, "Almighty, bless
this country and its king!" On October 3 he quitted the capital,
accompanied by Klopstock, who was residing with him. Bernstorff thought
that the most suitable place to which he could retire was his estate
of Borstel, in Holstein, which had come to him through his wife, and
where he allowed his mother-in-law, Frau von Buchwold, to reside. He had
always been received there with open arms, whenever he had found time
to escape from business; and such had been the case in this very year.
As the château was large, and could contain several families, he sent
an upholsterer to get two rooms ready for him. Frau von Buchwold turned
out the upholsterer, and refused to receive her son-in-law, who, through
his facile generosity, had given up his own house to her. The disgraced
minister spent the winter in Hamburg, and the following summer at his
château of Wotersen, in Lauenburg.[128]

Bernstorff's fate aroused general sympathy. It is true that he had
fostered the extravagance of the court, favoured foreigners, and
repeatedly allowed the state to be swindled by projectors. Nor could
he be acquitted of a certain vanity; but still he was a man of noble
character, and honestly desired the welfare of the state. He had
sacrificed a large portion of his fortune in the service of his adopted
country, and the prospect of a permanent peace with Russia was his work.
The incorporation of the ducal estates of Plön, when this line died
out, with the royal portion of Holstein, was owing to his exertions; he
had materially raised the prestige of the kingdom at foreign courts, by
carrying through the profitable free trade, and creating a maritime trade
in the Mediterranean and the Levant. He was a true father to the poor,
and hence we can understand that the whole nation regretted his fall, and
that general respect accompanied him on his departure.

Bernstorff's post as minister of foreign affairs was not immediately
filled up. For this reason, the ministers of the foreign courts were
requested to address the king directly in writing in matters concerning
their courts. The real object of this was to prevent the Russian
ambassador, Filosofow, from causing the king to alter his mind through
personal representations. The intention did not escape Filosofow; he
became terribly excited, and vented his anger in the bitterest complaints
and remarks. He openly threatened the vengeance of his court, and sent
off at once by a courier a full account of the remarkable events he had
witnessed in the course of a few weeks.[129]

Bernstorff's discharge was followed by a great number of others. The
first blow fell on the father-in-law of the ex-favourite, chief
secretary at war, and intendant of the navy, Admiral Danneskjold
Laurvig,[130] a man who was universally despised, and consequently not
a voice was raised against his dismissal. His post was not filled up,
but Vice-Admiral Römeling was appointed first deputy of the Admiralty
College, with immediate reference to the king. In the War Department
important changes also took place. Lieutenant-General Von Hauch lost the
presidency, which was given to Gähler, and Rantzau-Ascheberg was promoted
to be second deputy. In the College of Finances, Privy Councillor Shack
and Count Gustavus Holck were dismissed, and their post was given to Von
Scheel. In the two War Offices a number of dismissals and promotions also
took place.

These changes principally affected individuals, but the new Regent did
not stop with these, and it became more and more clear that he intended a
thorough reform of the administration. But no comprehensive and connected
scheme was drawn up. Conferenzrath Struensee read, as _lecteur du roi_,
letters and proposals for reforms to the king, which he recommended for
further consideration and resolution, but he consulted no one else about
his views. The king, himself, then decided in Struensee's presence what
should be done, and how carried out. At times Struensee laid before the
king proposals drawn up by himself, which Christian either sanctioned or
altered, but wrote his own orders himself. Conferenzrath Schumacher drew
up these orders in an official form, and the king read them all through
once more before he affixed his signature. It was clear that the monarch
chiefly listened to Struensee's propositions, and equally certain that
the bases of reforms in the administration emanated from the latter. The
more important of these reforms were as follows:--

All representations addressed to the king must be in writing, and the
kings decisions would be given in the same way. At the same time persons
would be careful so to draw up the petitions, that they only contained
the material points, and the questions on which the king had to decide
must be plainly and clearly brought forward. In cases where the king
might find it necessary to consult with other persons, he would either
request the opinion of the college in question, or appoint a commission
to investigate the matter, but everything, as far as was possible,
should be settled by the ordinary government organs--the departments.
The colleges would strive, as far as the matter allowed, to treat and
bring forward all affairs in a similar form. As the king in deciding on
matters did not wish to enter into details, but expected it to be done
by the colleges, the latter would urge their subordinates to attend
to this duty and make them responsible for it, so that all government
business might be treated in a similar mode. Lastly, the business of
the several departments would be so kept separate, that each would only
attend to those matters which naturally fell to it, and none would have
an influence over the other. The number of departments would, moreover,
be reduced, so that there would be only one department for each division
of the administration.

As regards the different branches of the administration, the following
rules were laid down concerning foreign affairs: the king had resolved
to strive after no further influence over foreign courts in any matters
that did not affect the position of his own kingdom and the prosperity
of trade. At the same time, the king wished to spare the expense which
numerous first-class embassies at foreign courts entailed. On the other
hand, the king would not allow foreign courts any influence over the
internal affairs of his kingdoms. Although Struensee could not thoroughly
convince himself of the importance of the Holstein territorial exchange
for the Danish monarchy, he was still of opinion that the king must
remain true to the Russian alliance, and create no suspicion at the
court of Petersburg. However, the Russian court must not seek guarantees
in accidental and immaterial circumstances, but solely trust to the
rectitude of the king, of which he had lately given the empress the
most manifest proofs. As regards these ticklish relations Struensee
entertained very different views from Rantzau-Ascheberg, who was of
opinion that Denmark should not lean exclusively on Russia, but draw
nearer to other courts, especially the Swedish.

As regards Sweden, Struensee, speaking through the king, entertained
wise and peaceful sentiments. These were, that the court should get
rid of the disquieting idea that Sweden was necessarily the enemy of
Denmark, gradually retire from officious interference in the affairs
of that kingdom, and, before all, not expend such large sums upon it.
Struensee was also of opinion that France should no longer be treated
with the coldness which had set in when she gave up subsidizing Denmark,
and attempts be made to regain her friendship. The French and Swedish
envoys, Marquis de Blosset and Baron von Sprengtporten, were the only
foreign ministers who paid respect to Struensee during the period of his
grandeur, and the only envoys who appeared at his levees.

When the arguments on these points were ended, the king read through
everything that had been urged by the two advisers of the crown, and
decided in favour of Struensee, though he had previously had no fixed
opinion on the subject.

As regards home affairs, it was decided that everything connected
with the finances of the state should be placed under one college.
Order and economy were recognised as the sole means of relieving the
embarrassed finances, and all enterprises not based on those two
principles were given up. The whole of the state revenue would be paid
into one exchequer, and the requisite sums paid out of it to the
other departments, so that the king might more easily see the state
of his income and out-goings. As a relief for the subjects and the
tax-gatherers, the payments in kind would be converted into payments
in money, in order to promote the industry of the country people, and
prevent the frequent abuses which so often occurred in payments in kind.
The king wished the out-goings for the government to be kept quite
distinct from the private expenditure for the court and royal family.
Factories, which, owing to their nature and the circumstances of the
country, could not exist without assistance, would no longer be supported
by the Treasury, and the support of others would be given in the shape
of premiums, as the king wished to have no partnership in them; and
the same would be the case with commerce. All pensions which appeared
excessive in proportion to the royal income would be reduced. As regarded
the administration of justice, the king would not decide in any matter
till it had been legally discussed by the courts. The number of courts
would be reduced, as everybody, no matter his rank, would be regarded as
a simple citizen in judicial matters. The judges would receive no fees,
but have a settled salary from the Treasury, and trials would take place
more rapidly.

General St. Germain had effected such excellent reforms in the army, that
the king in council proposed to make no change in it, although the system
of recruiting among the natives had not yet been introduced. For the
navy, the sensible regulation was established that its strength did not
consist in the number of vessels, but in those already existing being fit
for sea and properly equipped. It was also of importance that everything
required for a bombardment should always be kept in store. As regards the
court, every superfluity that only served for pomp would be removed, and
only that intended for amusement retained, but it must be borne in mind
that the amusements and court circles would be arranged in accordance
with the taste of the king and queen.

In addition to these general rules for the future administration, there
were several maxims which Struensee often repeated to the king, and
tried to imprint on his weak memory. The principal of them were to the
following effect:--

It was injurious to foster the flocking to court of persons who hoped
to make their fortune there, for it only tended to ruin such persons,
to impoverish the country, and entail losses on the king's Treasury. It
would be better for the nobility to live on their estates if they did
not desire employment, and those who wished for an official appointment
must render themselves fit for it in subordinate posts.[131] Exceptions
to this rule should only occur for valid reasons, and not through favour
or a lengthened residence at court. In giving appointments, the king
must trust to the recommendations of the colleges, and pay no regard to
the requests of courtiers or patronage. The king must issue no decree
by which the privileges of citizens were attacked. His Majesty also, at
least during the first years, must grant no distinctions or titles that
did not agree with the office held by the recipient.[132] Pensions must
only be granted in extraordinary cases, and after long service, and no
alms were to be bestowed on courtiers, but all the more copiously on
those who really needed them. The king must strive to make Copenhagen
great and prosperous, not by luxury and numerous consumers, but by
industry and foreign commerce, so that capitalists might be attracted to
the capital. Improved morals could not be produced by police laws, which
were an encroachment as well on human liberty; for immoral conduct, if it
have no immediate injurious influence on the quiet and safety of society,
must be left to conscience to condemn. The secret vices which force
and oppression entailed were frequently much greater offences against
morality, and constraint only generated hypocrisy.

It cannot be denied that such a system of government, in many respects,
agreed with the principal wants of society and the country at that day.
Still it must be carried out without precipitation, with caution, and a
thorough knowledge of the country and the national character. Two points
in this advice to the king deserve comment, however. In his opinion about
the nobility, Struensee showed himself to be a man who had but slight
confidence in himself, and was more competent to form great schemes
than carry them out. A statesman displays his weakness when he shows
a fear of that class of his fellow-citizens who are able to weigh his
actions properly. In the hands of a wise regent and a clever minister
the service of the nobility must be the principal support of the state,
and not the object of ignoble apprehension. As regards Struensee's views
about morality, and its influence in the welfare of the state, he was one
of those sciolists who derive their principles neither from reason nor
virtue, and who, under the deceptive mask of respect for the rights of
society, give admission to the utmost irregularity.

The general overthrow, which had not spared any class of officials, and
had hurled the highest of them from office, aroused an indescribable
alarm in every mind. The queen dowager quietly watched this terrible
storm from a distance: her dissatisfaction at it was as uncertain
as it was of little consequence; she merely made a point of meeting
those persons, on whom the ruinous blows had fallen, with the greatest
expressions of sympathy and friendship on every occasion. In the
meanwhile, the young queen and her adviser enjoyed the advantages they
had acquired; the confidential union and peace in which they lived was
heightened by the most agreeable amusements, and their happy days were
passed in undisturbed delight. Still they did not forget to insure the
permanency of this state of things, and followed a very cleverly-devised
plan. Struensee, whose far-sighted schemes aimed at getting the whole
royal authority into his hands and the queen's, felt that this was
impossible so long as the power was not brought into one hand, and that
hand must be the king's.

The king was certainly an absolute ruler, but there was a serious
obstacle to the proposed scheme in the traditional respect felt for the
council of state, which had grown, as it were, into a law of custom.
Through Bernstorff's fall the council had certainly received a shock, but
the earnest Thott, the experienced Moltke, and the clever Rosenkrantz,
were still members of it, and possessed numerous partisans. The privy
council aroused a certain degree of reverence, both because it was
established on the introduction of absolutism into Denmark in 1660, and
because it had always consisted of members of the highest aristocracy.
Hence it seemed a serious matter to abolish it all at once, and
Struensee, therefore, resolved upon an expedient.

After Bernstorff's dismissal the privy council was not called together
for eleven days, and on September 24 a royal rescript to the following
effect was sent to its members. As it was the king's wish, the rescript
ran, to have the council of state organised in the best manner, he
requested that on the first occasion of their usual meeting they should
properly consider the matters laid before them, and leave the final
decision to his Majesty, for the privy council, in a monarchical state,
was intended to offer the king all possible assistance in governing. With
respect to this, the king expected the members of the council of state
ever to reflect that in a sovereign state like Denmark the narrowest
limits must be given to subordinate authority, so that there might be
no encroachment on the sovereign power, which was solely represented
by the person of the king. The privy councillors must therefore never
forget that the king did not grant them any power of decision in any
matter that was ventilated, and much less any legislative and executive
authority, and that the council of state was merely established in order
to place the matters intrusted to it for consultation in a clear light,
and lay an opinion before the king. Hence, in judicial matters, no appeal
to the privy council would hereafter be permitted, and the Danish and
German chanceries would henceforth report directly to the king, as would
the departments of foreign affairs and the finances.[133] The privy
council would meet once or twice a week, and when important matters had
to be discussed the king would preside in person, but in his absence the
council would send in a report in writing about its session to the king.

About this period the salt tax was repealed, which had produced great
dissatisfaction among the poorer classes, and even caused an outbreak
in the island of Bornholm. The abolition of this tax was effected at
a time when government had heavy extraordinary expenses to defray on
account of the expedition against Algiers. But Struensee, who, in spite
of all his faults, always thought of alleviating the necessities of the
poor, considered this tax, which only oppressed the lower orders, so
unjust, that he proposed its immediate abolition. Ere long, other reforms

Although in most of the other Protestant countries the excessive
number of religious holidays had been done away with, they were still
kept in Denmark and the crown lands, and were spent in idleness and
excesses. In consequence, there appeared, on October 26, a decree, which
abolished the previous three days' holiday at Christmas, Easter and
Whitsuntide, Twelfth day, St. John's and Michaelmas days, All Saints,
the Purification, Visitation and Transfiguration of the Virgin Mary,
and the annual Te Deums for the repulse of the attack on the capital
on February 11,[134] and the great fire of October 23. This regulation
caused great annoyance among the large clique of pietists, who considered
the Christian religion deeply injured by the abolition of superfluous

On the same day a second cabinet order appeared, which purposed to
prevent the filling up of offices of state by favour and simony, as it
was desired that future candidates should have their abilities subjected
to a strict examination.

It must not be supposed, however, that it was all work and no play at
Hirschholm. The queen became about this time excessively fond of hunting,
and the court, magnificent in everything, kept up three establishments;
and for each of these there was a very costly uniform. That for the
king's stag hunt was a buff coat with light-blue collar and cuffs; the
coat was trimmed all round with silver lace, and lined with blue; the
blue waistcoat was also laced; the breeches were of leather; and the
cocked-hat laced, with a black cockade. The uniform for the hare hunt was
a green velvet coat and waistcoat, leathern breeches, brown top-boots,
and cocked-hat with green cockade. The falcon or hawk hunt uniform was
the most magnificent of all, being crimson velvet, with green cuffs and
collar trimmed with gold lace, leathern breeches, gold-laced cocked-hat,
and green cockade. Matilda, when she hunted, was attired, I am sorry
to say, exactly like a man. Her hair was dressed with less powder, and
pinned up closer, but in the usual style, with side curls, toupet, and
turned up behind; she wore a dove-colour beaver hat with a deep gold
band and tassels, a long scarlet coat faced with gold all round, a buff
gold-laced waistcoat, frilled shirt, a man's neckerchief, and buckskin
small clothes and spurs. She looked splendidly when mounted and dashing
through the woods, but when she dismounted the charm was, to a great
degree, dispelled, for she appeared shorter than she really was; the
shape of her knees betrayed her sex, and her belt seemed to cut her in

But when Caroline Matilda was dressed in the manner becoming her sex,
_incessu patuit dea_, she was every inch a queen. She had grown much
taller and stouter since her arrival in Denmark, and any one who had
not seen her for the last four years would hardly have recognised her.
She was always gay and tasteful in her dress, and combined a happy mean
between London and Paris fashions. Her complexion was exquisitely fair,
and it was a disadvantage to her beauty that the fashions of the day
obliged her to hide the colour and texture of her fine silver tresses
under a load of powder and pomatum. The best description of Caroline
Matilda I have met with, and one which exactly corresponds with the
portraits of her that I have seen, will be found in a work published in
Denmark a few years ago, which, though in the form of a novel, bears
evident traces of being what it represents to be--the "Recollections of
an Old Chamberlain:"--

"Over a marble table hung a portrait in a broad gilt frame. It
represented a lady in a dress of bluish satin, embroidered with gold
and edged with lace, the sleeves and puffs over the full bosom being of
brownish brocade. Round her neck was a closely-strung necklace of pearls,
and similar rings were in her ears. The hair was turned up and powdered;
it occupied a height and breadth which, agreeably to the fashion of the
times, exceeded that of the whole face, and was decorated with a gold
chain, enamels and jewels, entwined with a border of blonde, which hung
down over one ear. The face was oval, the forehead high and arched,
the nose delicately carved, the mouth pretty large, the lips red and
swelling, the eyes large, and of a peculiar light blue, mild, and at
the same time serious, deep, and confiding. I could describe the entire
dress, piece by piece, and the features trait by trait; but in vain
should I endeavour to convey an idea of the peculiar expression, the
amiable loftiness, or lofty amiability, which beamed from that youthful
face, the freshness of whose colour I have never seen surpassed. It
needed not to cast your eye upon the purple mantle, bordered with ermine,
which hung over her shoulder, to discover in her a queen; she could be
nothing of inferior rank. This the painter, too, had felt, for the border
of the mantle was so narrow as to be almost overlooked. It was as though
he meant to say: 'This woman would be a queen without a throne.' But
she was more," the author adds; "she was an angel, and the Danes still
cling with affectionate regard to the memory of the lovely being thus

Although I do not believe entirely in the accounts of the orgies at
Hirschholm, as described by the author of the MS. in "Northern Courts,"
I cannot help allowing that much happened there which offered cause for
regret. The old court had been austere and devoted, the new one became
futile and impious, as the preachers called it. Sunday had been in former
times given to the Lord, and the Saturday employed in preparation for it;
but now these days were purposely selected for pleasure. As if this were
not enough, Brandt was guilty of the inconceivable folly of ascending
the pulpit of the palace chapel and delivering an absurd sermon to the
assembled court. As a fresh amusement, Equerry von Warnstedt got up
horse-races, at which the king offered a prize of 600 dollars. All this
folly naturally strengthened the game of the queen dowager, who, though
she kept quiet, was incessantly on the watch for her opportunity.


[Footnote 118: Reverdil, p. 159.]

[Footnote 119: In the same way Frederick the Great writes: "L'accès
que le médecin eut à la cour lui fit gagner imperceptiblement plus
d'ascendant sur l'esprit de la reine qu'il n'étoit convenable _à un homme
de cette extraction_."]

[Footnote 120: De Flaux: "Du Danemark."]

[Footnote 121: De Flaux: "Du Danemark."]

[Footnote 122: On this subject, the "Mémoires de Falckenskjold" and De
Flaux's "Du Danemark" may be consulted with advantage.]

[Footnote 123: This and the subsequent royal decrees will be found in
full in Höst's "Struensee's Ministerium," vol. iii.]

[Footnote 124: Colonel Keith writes home: "An abominable riding-habit,
with a black slouched hat, has been almost universally introduced here,
which gives every woman the air of an awkward postilion. In all the time
I have been in Denmark I never saw the queen out in any other garb."]

[Footnote 125: De Flaux: "Du Danemark."]

[Footnote 126: "Memoirs of Sir R. M. Keith," vol. i. p. 199.]

[Footnote 127: "Coxe's Travels," vol. v. Not a trace of Hirschholm now
exists. It was pulled down by order of Frederick VI., and not a stone was
left on the other.]

[Footnote 128: Reverdil.]

[Footnote 129: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 59.]

[Footnote 130: A branch of the Danneskjold family, so called from a large
iron foundry belonging to it, the only county in Norway. In Denmark the
family had also large estates in the island of Langeland.]

[Footnote 131: Struensee hit upon a most ingenious plan for driving the
nobles from the capital. He obtained a decree from the king by which
any creditor could arrest his debtor if unable to pay. In a very short
time the first gentlemen in the land were seen flying to their country
seats; among them was Count von Laurvig, a man whose presence caused the
favourite some alarm, and against whom the new law had been specially

[Footnote 132: The constitutional, almost democratic government of
Denmark, has sinned grievously against this sensible rule. The late king,
and I dare say the present, appointed surgeons, postmasters, custom-house
officers, &c., councillors of justice, although these gentry understood
nothing of law, and many a shopkeeper or farmer bears the title of war
assessor, war councillor, or chief commissary of war. The reason alleged
for this by the government of Frederick VI. was, that the titled persons
paid a handsome tax to the Treasury.]

[Footnote 133: As the Norwegian language is merely a dialect, but the
written language in both kingdoms is Danish, and the kingdom of Norway
was at that time governed like a mere province, there was only a Danish
chancery for the two kingdoms, and a German one for the duchies and

[Footnote 134: Charles X.'s attack of February 11, 1659.]

[Footnote 135: Reverdil and "Northern Courts."]




While the royal family were residing at Hirschholm, the training of the
crown prince was a subject of discussion between the queen, Struensee,
Berger, and others. The boy, who was now nearly three years of age, had a
weak constitution and a tendency to consumption. He was obstinate; given
to screaming; would not walk; insisted on being constantly carried; and
attached himself to certain persons. He would never play by himself; he
had to be scolded in order to make him be quiet, and wanted people to be
continually singing and dancing to him.

The following methods were employed to overcome the boy's weakness:--He
was given very simple fare, consisting of vegetables, rice boiled in
water, bread, water, milk and potatoes, but all cold. At first, he was
bathed twice or thrice a day in cold water; and he soon became so fond
of it that he went into the bath of his own accord. When he was not with
the queen, he remained in a cold room, wore light silk clothes, and
generally ran about barefooted. He had only one playmate of his own age,
the natural son of a surgeon, called little Karl. No difference was made
between them; and they helped each other in dressing and undressing.
They climbed about; shouted; broke whatever they liked; and did what
they pleased generally, care being taken to remove anything with which
they might hurt each other. If the little prince cried for anything, it
was not given him unless he really wanted it; but he was not consoled
or reproved. If one of the boys fell, he had to get up by himself, and
never thought of making a fuss about it.[136] Generally, the lads were
allowed to help themselves. If one of them was hurt, nobody pitied him;
and if they quarrelled, they were allowed to fight it out, while none of
the valets were suffered to speak or play with them. So strictly was the
latter rule kept, that one day, at the Frederiksberg Palace, the young
prince, happening to fall in the garden and hurt himself, Struensee's
favourite valet picked him up, and ventured to soothe him. For this, the
culprit was sent to the Blue Tower, a civic prison for disorderly persons.

The two little men frequently contended for the mastery. Once, when they
had fought with greater fury than usual, Frederick asked Karl how he
dared raise his hand against his prince?

"A prince!" the other answered; "I am as much a prince as you."

"Yes; but I am a prince royal," Frederick rejoined, and fell upon his
opponent again, after he had owned himself conquered. The queen, hearing
of this, sent for the lads to her apartment, and insisted on Frederick
begging his playmate's pardon. Frederick refused to submit; and the
queen, provoked by his stubbornness, beat him severely. He was conquered,
but not subdued. By such severity, there is reason to fear that Caroline
Matilda lost her son's affection in his childhood; so much so, that if
he were very unruly, his attendants, as much, perhaps, from malignity as
ignorance, used to threaten to take him to the queen. There is no doubt
that Struensee had advised this strict treatment of the crown prince,
and that his royal mother fully agreed in his views, even though she had
not read "Emile," probably, and was no admirer of the paradoxes of Jean

Still, Struensee found objections raised to the exaggeration of his
treatment of the crown prince by his colleague Berger; and, owing to the
latter, the prince was allowed to wear shoes and stockings; received
warmer clothing; and had his rice boiled in broth. In the cold season,
his room was slightly warmed in the morning; and he had meat soup twice
a week for dinner.

It seems that the servants, in their indolence, at times greatly
neglected their duties to the young prince. In the autumn of 1770,
while the court were enjoying the chase, the stag ran to the woods of
Frederiksborg and Fredensborg, which were about fifteen miles to the
north of Hirschholm. The hunting party returned home at a late hour; and
when the young prince was looked after, he was found breathless, and
half dead with cold. He was put to bed with a woman, who took him in
her arms, and gradually brought him round. The crown prince's room at
Hirschholm consisted of a ground-floor apartment, forty feet in length.
On the garden side, it was closed in by an iron trellis-work, which gave
Struensee's accusers an opportunity for alleging that he shut the heir to
the throne up in a cage. After the favourite's downfall, a wooden bowl
was shown as a relic, in which it was stated that the food was given to
the crown prince while at Hirschholm.

The best proof of what little real value these charges had, is simply
found in the fact that the future king, Frederick VI., was able to endure
fatigue at a very advanced age which completely knocked up younger
men; he indubitably owed this to the early hardening of his frame and
the frugality of his mode of life when a child. While his grandfather
and great-grandfather only lived to the age of forty odd, he attained
the ordinary range of human life. It is evident, too, that the prince,
long after he had grown his own master, must have considered his early
moderation in eating and drinking as good for him, because he adhered
to it through his youth; and even when he became king, his table was
remarkable for its simplicity. But we shall have an opportunity of
reverting to this subject when excellent Reverdil returns to court next

At the end of October, the court removed to the palace of Frederiksberg.
Here it was arranged that, on every Monday afternoon, there should be
a court at the Christiansborg Palace, in town, and on every Thursday
evening a concert in the park of Frederiksberg. For a long time, no court
had been held; and the king only appeared there for a few minutes, and
addressed nobody. Hence the queen had to receive the respects of the
company alone, and make her observations on the faces of the ladies and

The condition of Christian had by this time become hopeless, and
arrangements had to be made to keep the people as much as possible
from a sight of a king of this sort. Adam Oehlenschläger, in his "Life
Recollections," has given us the following characteristic traits of the
king's malady:--At times it was found difficult to induce him to perform
the royal duty of signing; but when the word "deposition" was menacingly
whispered in his ears, the poor simpleton became terrified, and signed
anything and everything. Precautions were taken to prevent any violent
outbreaks of his mania. Thus the pages were instructed to hold his chair
at table, where he at times tried to rise and prevent others from eating.
It was forbidden at court to speak to or answer him, in order to prevent
any unpleasant expressions of that absolutism which still nominally
existed. At times, though, remarkable claims were made upon him; thus an
impudent page once drove the king into a corner, and said to him there,
"Mad Rex, make me a groom of the chamber." Another time the king really
created a chamberlain. He had been compelled to sign an appointment
as chamberlain for a man he could not bear. A moment after one of the
stove-heaters came into the room, dressed in his yellow jacket, and with
a bundle of wood on his back.

"Listen, you fellow," said the king; "will you be a chamberlain?"

"H'm! that wouldn't be so bad; but how am I to manage to become one?"

"Oh, nothing is easier; come with me." And the king took the man, just
as he stood, by the hand, and led him from his cabinet into the hall,
where the whole court was assembled. He walked with his client into the
middle of the assembly, and shouted in a loud voice, "I appoint this man
a chamberlain."

As the fiction that Christian VII. was absolute ruler must be kept up,
they had to acknowledge this appointment, in which the humour of insanity
was expressed; but the title was bought back of the lucky fellow at the
price of a small freehold farm.

The king was generally left to the company of a black boy, introduced
by Brandt, who became Christian's inseparable companion. Children and
fools, it is notorious, have an equal propensity for mischief. Christian
consequently found great delight in smashing the windows and china, with
the black boy's assistance, and beheading the statues in the garden. As
a change, he rolled on the floor with the lad, biting and scratching
him. From time to time, however, there was something that resembled a
lucid interval. Thus the king one evening suddenly appeared at a court
party, waved his hand to the company, and imperiously ordered "silence."
The whole of the guests stopped and stared, and then the poor gentleman
delivered, with great earnestness and deep pathos, Klopstock's warning
ode "to the princes." This finished, he clapped his hands, burst into a
loud laugh, turned on his heel, and went away.

After reading such an account of the husband to whom Caroline Matilda
was unhappily bound, we can hardly feel surprised that she sought refuge
in dissipation, and for this Struensee amply provided. The Royal Theatre
was enlarged and embellished, and Sarti, the Capellmeister, was ordered
to get up operas under the superintendence of Brandt. Further on in
the season performances were also given on Sunday, which caused great
annoyance among the clergy, and justly so; for though Struensee, as a
German, was accustomed to such a desecration of the Sabbath, Caroline
Matilda had been brought up in the Anglican faith, and ought not to
have sanctioned such proceedings by her presence. The only way in which
this sudden change in the queen, which was so utterly at variance with
her previous blameless life, can be accounted for, is, that she was
intoxicated by the homage that now surrounded her, and formed such a
contrast with the early part of her reign.

A regulation about the boxes at the Royal Theatre produced a fresh
grievance among the already disunited family. A separate box was given to
the hereditary Prince Frederick, who had hitherto been accustomed to sit
with the king; because, so the excuse was, the king did not care to have
the prince's suite about him. On this affair a correspondence took place
between the prince's chamberlain and Brandt, but the regulation was not
rescinded. On the other hand, Struensee and Brandt appeared in the royal
box, sometimes seating themselves behind the king and queen. Masquerades
were now also given in the king's theatre, and on the 18th December the
king gave one, to which everybody was admitted. Probably with the object
of extending public liberty, persons in carriages and on foot, without
distinction, were allowed to use torches at night. Mobs, doubtless hired
for the purpose, once took advantage of this permission to make a riot,
but did so only once, as the police interfered very sharply. From this
time only few employed the permission granted them.

During the last year the country had suffered from a bad harvest, in
consequence of which the price of bread and flour reached an unheard-of
height. In order to prevent the threatening results of this evil as
far as possible, Struensee issued, early in November, an edict against
exporting corn, while the importation from the duchies, and from one
inland province to another, was encouraged. Many thousand loads of grain
of every description were brought from the provincial granaries to the
capital, and, when a severe winter followed, Struensee sold flour at half
the ordinary price to the inhabitants, caused bread to be sold at the
same rate to the poor, and prohibited the distillation of spirits from

In this period of universal necessity the court received a visit from the
crown prince of Sweden, the future king, Gustavus III., and his younger
brother, the hereditary prince, Frederick Adolphus. The princes were
present at a masquerade, and in honour of them some of Holberg's plays
were performed, and other court festivals arranged. The elder prince was
not particularly pleased at his reception; having been invited to dine
at the king's table with one or two merchants' wives, he asked if there
were not Jews in the company too. One of these ladies having scolded
him politely for not paying her a visit, though she was his neighbour,
he replied, that he would severely reprimand the minister of his court,
whom he had requested to present him to all ladies of distinction.[137]
After a fortnight's stay, the princes continued their journey to Paris,
but paid a visit of some days to their relations at Gottorp. To them
they expressed their dissatisfaction at their reception in Copenhagen;
but though it had been cooler than it should have been between such
close connexions, it was explained by the fact that the Prince of Sweden
neglected his wife most shamefully, and this was well known in Copenhagen.

The reforms which had been interrupted by this visit, were carried on
with increased zeal after the departure of the royal guests. Struensee
appears to have had great sympathy with suffering humanity, as a decree
of December 7, 1770, proves. In it the establishment of a hospice for 600
poor children of both sexes was ordered, and to cover the expense a tax
was laid on all carriage and saddle horses in the capital.

The next steps that Struensee took appear to me to have been of a very
serious nature, and to have resulted from his erroneous views about
population. It is quite true that secret births, infanticide, and the
exposure of infants, were common in Copenhagen. In order to prevent these
unnatural crimes, Struensee ordered a drawer containing a mattress to
be placed at a window of the Lying-in Hospital looking on the street,
in which unfortunate mothers could lay their children to be taken care
of by the state. After this had been carried into effect, twenty-four
children were placed in the _crèche_ during the first four days. Aiding
foundlings is a duty which government cannot neglect without violating
the laws of humanity, but detecting and punishing parents who desert
their children is no less obligatory. The clergy were therefore in the
right when they denounced the new state of things, and stated that it
favoured debauchery and indolence, degraded marriage, and enfeebled the
advantages and rights that ought to encourage it: that it was rearing,
at the cost of the industrious classes, a race of wretches, who would
only increase the duties of the police and the expenses of the state. But
Struensee was of the same opinion as Frederick the Great, who only saw in
the human species a mode of producing soldiers: taking the increase or
diminution of the population as a positive index of a state of prosperity
or decay, Struensee--instead of merely favouring it indirectly, by
causing good order and diminishing the impediments that checked the
industry of private persons, and prevented them from attaining a
competency--persuaded himself that the increased multiplication of
children was the most efficacious method of augmenting the public
prosperity; or, in other words, he confounded the effect with the cause.
Hence it is a remarkable circumstance that the Foundling Hospital was
almost the only one of Struensee's institutions that survived his fall.

Foreign affairs had during the last year attracted general attention.
The insulting pretensions of the Court of Petersburg had been broken by
Bernstorff's dismissal. Up to this time, Filosofow only required to utter
the threat, "Well, the treaty for the exchange of territory will not be
ratified," in order to obtain what he required. Now, the arrangement by
which the foreign envoys had to apply in writing to the king, cut off
all opportunity for personally approaching the king, and we have seen
how angry Filosofow was at the change. At the same time as he sent off
his courier to Petersburg, however, the Danish government despatched
Aide-de-Camp von Warnstedt with a letter from the king to the empress,
notifying the dismissal of Bernstorff, and containing the assurance that
the change would in no way affect the friendly relations between the two

Struensee, who drew up the letter, was so ignorant of usages, or
neglected to follow them to such an extent, that he simply began "Madam,"
instead of "Madam, my sister," and ended in the ordinary style, "I have
the honour to be, Madam, your Imperial Majesty's very humble and obedient
servant." The real writer of the letter could not refrain, either, from
displaying in it the superiority of his views, for he mixed up in it
some salutary lessons on politics. Such was the apparent message; but
Warnstedt was secretly entrusted with letters for the Orlows, who were
the enemies of Panin, the Russian minister, and friends of Filosofow
and Saldern. He talked foolishly about the latter commission, so that
it reached the ears of Mestmacher, the Russian chargé d'affaires at
Copenhagen, and the Petersburg court knew before Warnstedt arrived of
what letters he was the bearer.

When the envoy arrived at St. Petersburg, he learned that the empress
was so unfavourably disposed toward Denmark, that for some time past she
had not invited the Danish ambassador, Count Scheel, and his wife to
her evening circle. The envoy extraordinary could only obtain a public
audience from the empress, who received the letter from his hands, and
conversed graciously with him, but no answer was given him. As for
the private letters, very good care was taken that they should not be
delivered. When Warnstedt returned to Copenhagen he was put under arrest,
as a satisfaction for the Russian minister, though it was publicly stated
that he had spoken incautiously about Christian VII. while in Petersburg.
He was, however, liberated soon after.

This treatment of Warnstedt led to the belief in Copenhagen that the
government was angry at the answer received from Petersburg; and Count
Rantzau, the old foe of the Petersburg cabinet, began publicly rejoicing
that the Russian yoke which Denmark had borne too long, was now shaken
off. But Struensee behaved in the affair with statesmanlike demeanour
and caution, so that Filosofow quite lost his head, and even displayed
traces of insanity. He requested his recall, and it was granted. Before
he left, he desired a private audience from Christian, and was told that
he could only see the king in the apartment, and could take leave there.
He replied that his health did not allow him to be present, and he went
away without taking leave of a single member of the royal family.[138]

The Foreign Office was next given to Count VON DER OSTEN, who had been
Danish envoy at Naples. As he plays an important part in the narrative,
I will say a few words here about his birth and chequered fortunes.

Being without a patrimony, he was educated at court as page in the
house of Frederick V. As he evidenced talent and cunning, Count von
Moltke granted him a pension to study abroad. During his first journey
to Leipzig, he made the acquaintance of Count Stanislaus Poniatowski,
afterwards King of Poland, and they even slept in the same bed. On
returning home, the first use Osten made of his talents was to induce
the page of the chamber to deliver to the king a memorial against Count
von Moltke and his administration, and against Bernstorff, who had
the confidence of the king and his favourite. The king, instead of
dismissing his favourite and his minister, showed them the libel, and
as they soon saw that the person who handed it in was not capable of
composing it, they urged him to reveal the real author. Moderate and
honourable as they were, they took no further vengeance than sending
their young adversary to take some lessons in politics, and for this
purpose entrusted him to Malzahn, at that time minister in Russia.

Although Von der Osten was not given an official post, he contrived to
seize on one. Malzahn died, and the secretary to the embassy being ill,
Osten took upon himself to seal up the archives, receive despatches,
and confer with the Russian ministers. Bernstorff confirmed him in
the appointment he had seized, and sent him his instructions, which
were, among other things, that he must humour the grand duchess, whose
elevation the Copenhagen cabinet already foresaw. Von der Osten paid his
court to her, by telling her all he could learn about foreign politics.
This young princess was silently preparing to play a part, though I
cannot affirm whether she flattered herself with the hope of managing her
husband, or that she thought even then of getting rid of him.

As the grand duchess had no children, the Empress Elizabeth declared to
her some time after that there must absolutely be a successor to the
empire, and pointed out to her the man who might cure her sterility. This
proposal at first revolted Catharine, and she rejected it as an insult.
But when it was added that such respectable scruples might cause her
to be sent away, her hesitation ceased, and after awhile there was no
necessity to force lovers upon her. While Von der Osten was envoy at
Petersburg, he received a visit from the young Poniatowski, whom he had
known at Leipzig. Poniatowski was at first only a simple companion and
intimate friend of Hanbury Williams, the English envoy; but during a
lengthened residence at Petersburg he was entrusted with a commission by
Augustus III. of Poland. He was handsome, well-informed, eloquent--in
a word, made to please; and the grand duchess accepted his homage. Von
der Osten was their confidant, and either acting in conformity with the
intentions of his court, or through friendship for Poniatowski, he did
not refuse them his good offices, but offered to cover the _liaison_,
by lending his hotel as their rendezvous. Poniatowski came there
_incognito_, and the princess, disguised as a man, escaped from her
palace, and got into a hired carriage, in which the Secretary von der
Osten received and accompanied her.

An intrigue, or some other cause, removed Von der Osten from Petersburg,
but he was employed at Dresden in 1762. When the revolution rendered the
empress independent, and removed the necessity for mystery, she begged
the King of Denmark to send Von der Osten back to her court. For two
years she not only granted him greater access and favours than a foreign
minister could claim, but consulted him on the affairs of the empire,
and admitted him to the conferences held in her presence between her
ministers and her general officers. He fell from this elevation most
suddenly; the Russian minister informed all the foreign envoys, by a
circular note, that the empress had withdrawn her favour from Herr von
der Osten, and regarded him as a vile and odious person. He remained some
time at Petersburg, going to court, where nobody spoke to him, and not
seeking to justify himself. Business no longer passed through his hands:
the secretary to the embassy received the despatches from his court, and
answered them without Osten's participation.

This took place in 1764, or about the period of the Polish throne being
vacant. Von der Osten had received orders to make common cause with the
dissidents, who desired the election of Stanislaus; but he was of a
different opinion, and worked against his old friend in favour of a Count
Oginsky, who was younger and handsomer, and whom he tried to please by
dyeing his red eyebrows black. This attachment so blinded him, that, in
the ante-chamber of the empress, and at the time when he was in favour,
he offered to bet on the election of Oginsky against that of Stanislaus.
Oginsky paid him for such warm protection, and I have no doubt gave but
slight attention to the colour of his eyebrows. The publicity which the
Russian court gave to Osten's disgrace refers to some secret infamy,
and not to the two Polish rivals. It is supposed that, having succeeded
in attaining a position by the help of Madame Bestucheff, who was a
Dane, he eventually committed some signal act of treachery against her
husband. It must have been during the period of his favour at Petersburg
that Osten obtained the title of Count, for he was not so by birth. At
the same period he asked for the order of the Dannebrog, but Bernstorff
answered him that he had been a page too recently; and for this refusal
Von der Osten never forgave the Danish minister.

After so many causes of bitterness, old and new, Bernstorff, not wishing
to avenge himself by disgracing Osten, or recall to court an enemy whose
talent for intrigue had become notorious, sent the count to Naples.
After awhile, as the count did not cease to complain of an employment
which he regarded as an exile, the minister had the complaisance to
nominate him for Paris _vice_ Von Gleichen; but at the first hint the
French court received of this, it ordered the Marquis de Blosset to
protest at Copenhagen against this choice. Then Bernstorff destined him
for the Hague; but, his own power ceasing shortly after, he saw himself
succeeded by the man whose friendship he had only been able to gain by
such indulgence and kindness.

Von der Osten's conduct in his new post was not deficient in skill
or dignity, but Struensee's hope of moving the Russian court by this
appointment failed. The new minister's first measure on taking office was
one in which his character could be plainly read. He wished to flatter
the Russian court, and yet not displease the party that ruled at his
own. He sent to the former a species of apology about the great changes
that had taken place at his court, and displayed considerable eloquence
in it. This document met with a better fate at Petersburg than the king's
letter, and many people applauded it. It may be assumed that the Russian
court, whose pride had been terribly hurt by the loss of its influence
in Danish affairs, was glad to avenge itself on the King of Denmark by
this little humiliation, and to be able to withdraw from the whole affair
with an appearance of honour; at any rate, the empress adhered to her
decision, and declared openly that so long as foreign affairs were in the
hands of Von der Osten, the alliance and negotiations with Denmark would
be broken off.

After the rescript about the new organization of the privy council
had been issued, Privy Councillor Schack, Lieutenant General Gähler,
Vice Admiral Römeling, and Count Rantzau-Ascheberg, were formed into
a committee to make a further proposition about it. By this rescript
the power of the council had been considerably restricted, and further
limitations appeared to be impending. Schack opposed this reform, and
when he found it was of no use, he retired without a pension to his
estate in Jütland. As we stated, the discussions and proposals of the
privy council were to be sent in writing to the king, and when Struensee
was appointed Maître des Requêtes, on December 18, 1770, it was his duty
to read to the king the reports of the privy council. But a very few days
later, the council received a death-blow through the following decree
written and signed by the king:--

We, Christian VII., by grace of God King of Denmark, Norway, of the Goths
and Wends, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn and the Dittmarsches,
Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, &c., decree and announce herewith.
As the affairs of state in an absolute government are only confused
and delayed when many persons of high rank take part in them, owing to
the respect which the latter acquire with the course of time, and the
settlement of business is thus retarded: we, however, who have nothing
so much at heart as a zealous promotion of the public welfare, will not
let ourselves be checked or hindered in those measures and arrangements
that tend to this object: we have therefore thought proper to abolish and
absolutely suppress our former privy council; in doing which, our object
is to restore to the constitution of the state all its purity and to
maintain it. Thus, then, the said form of government will be and remain
exactly as it was handed to our ancestors of glorious memory by the
nation, and not the slightest appearance will be left, as if we wished
to depart from the sense and intention with which the nation transmitted
it to our ancestors. In further confirmation of the above, we have had
the present decree drawn up in duplicate, in Danish and German, and the
articles shall be preserved for ever in the archives of the Chanceries.
Given under our royal hand and seal, at our castle of Frederiksberg,
this 27th December, 1770.



       *       *       *       *       *

This singular edict was generally attributed to Rantzau, but the avowed
motive lay as much in the king's character as in Struensee's: neither of
them liked people of consequence, but how could they suppose that they
had disarmed the nobility, by discharging those who had acquired credit
and consideration? After all, it is power that rules, and this power
must be in the hands of somebody. Frederick the Great found a way of
diminishing the power of his ministers, by being his own minister, and
this was what was intended at Copenhagen. But what resemblance was there
between the two kings? Struensee, by making himself the inspirer, could
not hope to remain long concealed; in fact, everybody saw his movements
already. The king, who eagerly took up the idea of imitating his brother
of Prussia, ere long had a stereotyped answer for everything: "Apply to
Struensee." Hence, there was a Grand Vizier, and surely the nation did
not gain much by suppressing four ministers assembled in council, and
giving the power to one man.

This decree appeared to be greeted with applause by all save the old
nobles, for the heavy taxes which weighed down the country, were placed
to the account of the privy council, and people were offended by the
arrogance with which several members looked down on other persons, while
they did not hesitate to render themselves the tools of licentious
favourites. With the suspension of the council, the members were
dismissed from their other offices as well. Rosenkrantz alone received
a pension, which he owed to the intercession of his friend Frau von
Gähler,--a proof of the still existing influence of certain ladies
of the court on public affairs, although it had been announced that
firm principles would be followed in everything. Rosenkrantz was also
14,000 dollars in debt to the Treasury. After their dismissal, the four
ministers quitted the capital and retired to their estates.[139]

On the day after the suppression of the privy council, a privy council of
conferences was established. The idea of this council seems to have been
derived from what took place in Russia during the reign of the Empress
Anne, but it never attained any importance. The members met whenever
requested to do so by the king, and then expressed their opinion about
matters laid before them.

The power was now once more collected in the sole person of the king, as
had been the case with the first absolute monarch of Denmark and Norway,
in 1660. His advisers in public business were, on the one hand, a man of
bourgeois birth, who had not been trained as a statesman, but had risen
rapidly; on the other, men, who liked reforms, and hence were regarded
with hateful glances by all those whose interests they attacked. The
results, however, attained by these advisers displayed some amount of
talent. It seemed as if fresh life and order were being re-introduced
into the state, if we can admit that such things ever before existed.
A very wide field was also opened for ideas by the free Press. Still,
months passed ere people ventured to employ it in discussing affairs of
state. Numerous pamphlets appeared, but were of slight value. Gradually,
however, learned men took up the pen, in order to take advantage of the
liberty granted them, and publicly discussed important state matters,
such as serfdom, corvées, the system of guilds, monopolies, the bank, the
army, the university, Norway, Zeeland, &c. Most of these _litterateurs_
were anonymous, but among them were men of scientific reputation, such
as Jacob Baden, Fleischer, Schumacher, &c. The majority of these essays
clearly proved, however, how few sound and correct views about government
had gained admission into Denmark at that period. That the press should
also produce a countless number of pasquinades and abusive pamphlets, was
only what was expected, and the good sale of such things, although their
price was raised, at any rate furnished proof of a desire to read being
aroused among the people, which in the end led to the perusal of better

But the general joy at the liberty of the press and other excellent
regulations was greatly damaged by the fact that all the cabinet orders
appeared in German. It is true that the court had been, for centuries,
the centre of Germanism in Denmark, and this fact, even in the reign of
Christian VI., had caused a German to remark to that king, who was a Dane
all over, "It is strange that your Majesty should be the only foreigner
in your own house;" and under the seventh Christian, it was also the
fact that the higher classes could neither speak nor write Danish; while
there were high officials, who, in spite of a lengthened residence in
Copenhagen, could not speak Danish. The army was drilled and commanded
after the German regulations; and the courts-martial were minuted in
German. As, however, the public were aware that the present king spoke
and wrote Danish well, and as it had not hitherto been customary to
publish any decrees or government regulations, save those intended for
the duchies, in German, an insult to the Danish nation was seen in
Struensee's German decrees, as he addressed them in a foreign language.
Hence it was natural that this mistake produced Struensee many enemies,
who, solely on that account, became his political opponents. Struensee
apologized for his error by saying that he had no time to learn Danish;
but surely there was nothing to prevent him from having his cabinet
orders translated into Danish.

A curious instance of a mistake occasioned by Struensee's use and abuse
of German is preserved for us by Reverdil. An individual in Norway,
whose house stood on a very rapid river, down which wood was floated to
the sea, had put up in front of his house a stockade to stop the wood,
and agreed with the woodmen as to the price they should pay for the use
of his establishment. The persons interested, desiring to render their
contract more solemn, requested the king to ratify it, according to a
received custom. This request was sent from the Danish Chancery to the
cabinet with a favourable report. The clerk who had to translate the
documents into German did not understand the word _flaxboom_, by which
the stockade was designated; and as he saw that the affair related to the
right of passage on the river, and as _flachs_ meant flax in German, he
assumed that these persons were arranging a tax to be paid on all flax
brought down the river. This offended Struensee, who at once addressed
a reprimand to the Chancery, on its proposition to establish a toll
which would be very onerous upon the flax trade, and contrary to all the
principles of political economy. The Chancery replied, that his Majesty
had doubtless been deceived by his German translator; that no flax came
down the river; and, in a word, cleared up the misunderstanding. The
explanation gained the department a fresh reprimand, for having the
audacity to suppose that his Majesty had Danish reports translated, and
did not understand his own language.


[Footnote 136: An affecting trace of this training was seen on the
very last day of the life of Frederick VI. As is well known, he died
of entire loss of strength; but on the afternoon before his death, he
gave the parole for the day in his audience-room. While doing so, his
three-cornered hat fell from his grasp; but he would not allow any one to
pick it up, but did so himself with the utmost difficulty.]

[Footnote 137: Reverdil, p. 224.]

[Footnote 138: "Authentische Aufklärungen," p. 72.]

[Footnote 139: After the palace revolution of 1772, Thott joined the
newly-formed ministry. Moltke Bregentved accepted no office, and died
in 1793, at the age of 83. Reventlow eventually became curator of Kiel
University, where he died in 1783. Rosenkrantz was recalled to the privy
council in 1784, when the crown prince broke up Guldberg's ministry and
became prince regent, but he was dismissed again in 1788. He died in




At the beginning of 1771, the court quitted the palace of
Frederiksberg,[140] and returned to the Christiansborg Palace.

Christiansborg, built by Christian VI., was an enormous edifice. It
consisted of six stories above the vaults,--three of these were extremely
large and lofty, and dedicated to state purposes; three other stories ran
between, not more than eight feet high, called Mezzanines, where the
state ministers and royal attendants had suites of rooms. The queen's
apartments were in the grand or east front, on the second great story;
the king's were on the same floor, further to the south; the royal chapel
formed another division of this vast palace; a lower structure, or wing,
under which was one of the entrances to this huge edifice, formed a
continuation of the Mezzanine story. Struensee's apartments were in the
Mezzanine, opening into the grand passage leading to the royal chapel,
and next to the queen's apartments; Count Brandt's rooms were on the same
story, adjoining Struensee's, but next the chapel.[141] The queen dowager
and Prince Frederick occupied the whole of the third floor when they were
residing in Copenhagen.

The first measure taken by Struensee in this year was the appointment
of Professor Oeder, who had hitherto been a member of the agricultural
commission, as Councillor of Finances and member of the Financial
Deputation. This was a title hitherto unknown in Denmark; but Oeder
justified the choice, although he had been hitherto better known as a
botanist and author of a "_Flora Danica_." He took a considerable share
in Struensee's cabinet labours, and expressed his opinion about state
affairs and reforms openly when invited to do so. He often opposed
Struensee's views; still more often warned him against precipitate and
violent measures; and the favourite was more disposed to listen to Order
than to many others.

On January 12, the Prussian bank director, Koes, received permission
to establish a royal Danish lottery for a term of six years. For the
privilege, an annual sum of 25,000 dollars was to be paid into the
king's private exchequer. The farmer and his partners published a plan
of subscription, containing two hundred and fifty shares of 500 dollars
each; and ten per cent. profit was guaranteed the shareholders. The
directors of the lottery appointed two thousand collectors all over the
country; and a drawing took place every three weeks.

The introduction of the lottery justly aroused great public reproach.
For all that, the following Danish governments found this institution
so profitable, that they undertook the direction of it, and it was not
until public opinion began to become very decided about this corruption
offered to the poorer classes, that it was entirely abolished in the
reign of Christian VIII. Struensee only authorised the establishment
of the lottery, it is urged, because at that time the country swarmed
with pedlars, who sold tickets of foreign lotteries, by which a great
deal of money was drawn out of the country, and he tried to prevent
this by starting a home lottery for gamblers. A number of pamphlets at
once appeared in Copenhagen and other towns of the kingdom, in which
the ruinous results of lottery gambling were shown, though without any
effect. When the lottery was established at Copenhagen and Wandsbeck, the
people were attacked by a perfect mania for gambling, and while formerly
the conversation in the houses of citizens turned on the weather and town
scandal, they now talked about the best way of playing, about ambos,
ternes, and quaterns, &c.

The king's birthday, January 29, was employed by the new government as
a favourable opportunity for gaining the favour of the populace. For
this purpose, an antique fountain was erected in the manège behind the
Christiansborg Palace, from which red and white wine flowed. Everybody
was allowed to fetch it away, except the sailors of the navy. From the
balcony over the fountain a herald threw gold and silver medals among
the crowd, bearing on the obverse the king's bust, and on the reverse
the date, "January 29, 1771," with the king's motto, "Gloria ex amore
patriæ." At the same time, a roast ox and sundry roast sheep were cut up
and distributed. It seems as if the intention were to throw some lustre
upon the throne, which would compensate for the _nimbus_ with which the
now removed high-born ministers and great gentlemen had formerly invested
it in the eyes of the populace.

The king's birthday was, however, glorified in another manner. The
reigning queen established on this day a new order, called the Order
of Matilda. The statutes, which were drawn up in French, were to the
following effect:

Art. I.--The order shall be called the Order of Matilda.

Art. II.--It shall be conferred on both ladies and gentlemen; but the
number must never exceed twenty-four, the queen, its founder, included.

Art. III.--It shall only be conferred on persons who have deserved the
particular attention of the queen, independently of merit or services

Art. IV.--It is forbidden to ask for the order; and those ladies and
gentlemen who act contrary to this rule, will deprive themselves for ever
of the hope of obtaining it.

Art. V.--Those ladies or gentlemen who, on receiving the Order of
Matilda, may possess that of the Perfect Union of the late queen, Sophia
Magdalena, shall deliver the insignia of the latter to the queen.

Art. VI.--The order shall be worn with a pink ribbon, striped with
silver. The gentlemen shall wear it round the neck, and the ladies fasten
it in the shape of a bow on the left breast.

Art. VII.--On the death of any lady or gentleman decorated with it, the
heirs are expected to send the insignia of the order to the queen.[142]

The badge itself consisted of a round medallion, with the letters C. M.
set in costly diamonds, the royal crown over it, and a laurel wreath
round. The king and queen, the queen dowager, and the hereditary Prince
Frederick, were the first royal personages who assumed the new order.
The others to whom it was given on the day of its institution, were Count
Rantzau-Ascheberg, Privy Councillor von der Osten, Lieut.-General von
Gähler, Chamberlain Enevold Brandt, Struensee, Baroness von Schimmelmann,
Frau von Gähler, and the Countess Holstein zu Holsteinborg. The evident
object was to indicate the queen's adherents by this distinction, but
Struensee's enemies asserted that he had despised the Dannebrog, but did
not yet dare demand the Elephant, and hence the new order was instituted.
There was nothing remarkable, however, in Caroline Matilda founding an
order, as well as other queens before her.

The new rulers, however, did not at all forget, through the festivities
on the royal birthday, to extend to the court the proposed system of
retrenchment in the expenses of the state. It was seen to be absolutely
necessary that the expenditure of the court should undergo strict
revision. Struensee and Brandt tried together to induce Councillor of
Legation Texier, who had accompanied the king on his tour as treasurer,
to undertake the duties of a court intendant. But this clear-sighted man
declined the offer most politely, and Struensee had to look elsewhere for

It was quite useless to expect any good from Count Moltke, the court
marshal and son of Frederick V.'s favourite, for he was preternaturally
stupid. Abuses and foolish expenses had been multiplied under his rule,
and there were the most valid reasons for getting rid of him; but, on
the other hand, he had one of the prettiest and least strict wives at
court. Struensee had a weakness for her, and considered her necessary
for the new tone he wished to give the court. He therefore resolved on
a _mezzo termine_, and sent for a Lieutenant-Colonel von Wegener, who
had taught the princes of Hesse mathematics, and was at present at the
head of Prince Charles's household, into which he had introduced great
regularity. Struensee gave him the title of Intendant of the Court,
with charge of the expenses, while Count von Moltke would retain the
introductions, the ceremonial, and do what is called the honours. On
the king informing Moltke of all the details of which he relieved him,
while leaving him his salary, the latter became very violent, demanded
his dismissal, obtained it, insisted on his wife accompanying him to his
paternal estate, and died on arriving there. A rumour was spread that his
wife had poisoned him; but she justified herself by having an autopsy
performed, accompanied by a regular report from the physicians. This fact
struck people greatly, and the patriotic party concluded that morals were
hopelessly ruined, as such atrocious suspicions could be conceived.[143]

Shortly after, however, two dismissals took place at court, which were
not at all connected with the economical system. Page of the Chamber Von
Köppern was so impudent as to speak disrespectfully about Struensee to
the king, and thus caused his own fall. Chamberlain von Warnstedt, too,
who had hitherto been a favourite of the king, and stood in confidential
relations with Struensee, was suddenly dismissed from court. A single
incautious remark about Struensee proved his ruin. On his birthday, in
February, Warnstedt received a letter from the king, in which the monarch
intimated that being aware of Warnstedt's inclination for a military
life, he discharged him from court with a pension of 800 dollars, and had
nominated him second-lieutenant in the Schleswig dragoons, with orders to
join his regiment without delay.[144]

But dismissals were the order of the day, not only at court but among the
government officials. This fate first befell the two oldest directors
of the General Staat, Conferenzrath von Schrödersee and Etats-rath
Holm, who were both discharged without pension. They were followed by
the bailiff and under-bailiff of Copenhagen: the former because he was
alleged to behave too severely, the latter too mildly, to the peasants.
The dismissal of these two officials was ascribed to General von
Gähler, but unjustly so. Struensee was accustomed to confer with the
general frequently, who had many enemies. The sudden dismissals were
not confined to the capital and its immediate vicinity, but extended to
all parts of the monarchy. The most important of them was the removal
of Privy Councillor von Benzon, viceroy of the kingdom of Norway. This
universally respected old gentleman was dismissed on February 8; the post
of an _alter ego_ of the king in the second kingdom was not filled up
for the present, and the management of the business, which had hitherto
been transacted by the viceroy, was left to the bailiffs. After the
viceroy, the next victim was Bürgermeister von Wasmer of Bergen, who
was discharged for disobedience and insubordination. As, afterwards,
many shared the same fate without the causes for their dismissal being
imparted to them, it was natural that the most honest and valued
officials no longer felt secure. On the other hand, it is indubitable
that from this time the business of the state was carried on with greater
attention and industry than before.[145]

A decree that aroused general satisfaction appeared on February 12. It
consisted of a circular to the government colleges, in which they were
informed that in future no lackey who had waited on a master must be
proposed for a public office. In this way the hateful lackeydom was
abolished, and a permanent obstacle raised against the repeated neglect
of scientifically-educated men, on behalf of fellows who had driven a
carriage or stood behind it.

The administration of the navy was not forgotten among the reforms.
Privy Councillor Count Haxthausen was ordered to confer with Etats-rath
Willebrandt, and draw up a new organization for the Admiralty College.

About this time a friend of Struensee made his appearance at Copenhagen,
whose cruel fate, after the catastrophe of 1772, will for ever remain
a blot on Danish justice. SENECA OTHO VON FALCKENSKJOLD was descended
from an old noble Danish family, and was born, in 1738, at Slagelse, on
Seeland. Intended by his father, who held high rank in the army, for
a military career, he entered the service in his thirteenth year. On
leaving the cadet school four years later, when the Seven Years' War
broke out, Falckenskjold, instead of intriguing at Copenhagen with women
and valets, entered the service of France, served in Alsace, was slightly
wounded at Bergen, but so severely at Clostercamp, where Maréchal de
Castries defeated the Hanoverians, that he was rendered incapable of
serving for some time. When his country was threatened with a Russian
war in 1762, Falckenskjold returned home, and received a company in the
Delmenhorst regiment, and afterwards a command in Norway. When his corps
was disbanded, Falckenskjold resided for some time at Altona, where
Rantzau inspired him with a taste for politics. Shortly after, being
animated with a lively desire for information, he travelled through
Sweden, Germany, France, and England, in order to become acquainted with
the institutions of those countries and learn their language. On his
return to Copenhagen he was appointed aide-de-camp and chamberlain to
the king. When, in 1768, the war broke out between Russia and the Porte,
he entered the Russian service, was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the
engineers, served, in 1769, under Prince Galitzin, and was present at
the capture of Khotzim. In the following year, being employed with the
army of which Count Romanzow took the command, he distinguished himself
at the battle of Larga, received the cross of St. George for being the
first man to enter the Turkish entrenched camp, and was one of the first
twelve knights of this order, which had been recently founded. He also
distinguished himself at the battle of Kahul, and was appointed a full
colonel, with the commission and rank of a brigadier.

This was a man whom Struensee could employ, and therefore he recalled
him, in order to entrust to him the reform of the Danish army, and
employ him in the negotiations with Russia for the pestilent exchange
of territory. Falckenskjold was reluctant to quit the Russian service,
where he had the best prospects of speedy promotion; but he yielded
to Struensee's wishes, as a speedy return to the Russian service was
promised him, but chiefly that he might offer his assistance in the
diplomatic negociations between the two kingdoms.

On arriving in Copenhagen, Falckenskjold was nominated proprietor and
colonel of the regiment of Foot Guards, and attached to the commission
appointed to renew the suspended negociations with Russia, about which
Struensee was extremely anxious. As Falckenskjold was thoroughly
acquainted with Russian affairs, he was sent to Petersburg with the
embassy intended to press for the fulfilment of the treaty signed in
1768, and, disappointed in his expectations, returned at the period when
the menacing storm was rapidly gathering over Struensee. Brandt insisted
on his being appointed marshal of the court, but Falckenskjold could not
be persuaded to accept the office, and contented himself with being the
confidential adviser of Struensee, and in that capacity repeatedly warned
him to take his measures against any sudden change of fortune--advice
which, unfortunately, was not listened to by the dazzled favourite, who
was constantly engaged with fresh schemes.

At the time when Falckenskjold reached Copenhagen, Rantzau's faction were
urging an open war with Russia, in consequence of the non-fulfilment of
the treaty; and even Struensee did not consider such a war desperate. But
Falckenskjold was violently opposed to it, and when Struensee declared
that the bomb-ketches built to attack Algiers could be employed to
batter Cronstadt, and that the king would not hesitate to sacrifice
all his plate to defray the expenses of such an expedition, the old
soldier brought forward some pregnant facts. He reminded Struensee that
a resource of this nature, employed by Louis XIV. daring the war of the
Succession, only produced 450,000 livres. He then entered into a detail
about the expense of a single campaign against Russia, and compared it
with the present resources of Denmark, the condition of her armaments,
and the assistance she might expect from foreign powers. Besides,
supposing that the king, though he (Falckenskjold) was far from admitting
the fact, was strong enough to attack such an enemy with a hope of
success, the maritime powers, especially England, would not suffer their
relations to be interrupted in the Baltic, or allow ports advantageous
to their trade, and from which they derived a great portion of their
naval equipment, to be destroyed. Falckenskjold also urged that, there
was reason to apprehend that the King of Prussia would interfere in the
quarrel to the prejudice of Denmark, in order to carry out his designs
upon Holland.

These considerations produced an effect on Struensee, but Rantzau and
his partisans did everything to efface the impression they had produced.
The threatening tone which they openly assumed in talking about Russia,
and which they rendered the fashion in Copenhagen, was carried to so
insulting a point, that the Russian _chargé d'affaires_ repeatedly told
Falckenskjold that he would have left long before were it not for the
hopes that he (Falckenskjold) gave him. This indiscreet bravado on the
part of the Rantzau faction greatly displeased Struensee, however, and
gave weight to Falckenskjold's remonstrances.

In the meanwhile, Struensee's reforms went on uninterruptedly; and
various ameliorations in the law courts appeared one after the other.
Thus a regulation was issued relating to the corvées on the noble
estates, by which the poor serf ceased to be a helpless tool in the hands
of his owner. Certain days and hours in the week were set apart for
compulsory service, but the remaining time was left at the disposal of
the peasantry. The latter were placed under the protection of the law,
and all the privileges which belonged to them as men and citizens, were
secured to them.

In order to prevent the delay in judicial investigations through
chicanery or neglect, a list was ordered of all persons under arrest for
criminal offences, with a statement of their crimes, the time they had
been detained, and the names of their judges. The names also of those
judges were reported who had proved negligent in the performance of their

In order that trustees might not carry on usury with the property
of their wards, or squander it, but that heirs and creditors might
receive their funds in due course, a list was ordered to be sent to the
government of all the estates of deceased persons and bankrupts, the
names of the trustees and assignees, and the period when the latter were

The two chanceries were subjected to a reorganization, the almost
sovereign heads of these colleges dismissed, and in their stead the
Danish Chancery had four, the German three, deputies, and the same number
of departments.

The civic government of Copenhagen also underwent reorganization. The
complaints raised on all sides about the misuse of authority, the slow
course of business, and the maladministration of the town revenues and
neglect in providing the city with provisions, were the ostensible
reasons for these reforms. The magistracy would, in future, consist of
a chief president, two bürgermeisters, a town syndic, a town physician,
four councillors, and two representatives. But even in this simple
matter court intrigues prevailed,--Count Holstein zu Holsteinborg was
appointed president; one of those men with whom a great name and a little
charlatanism hold the place of merit. He had been recalled from Tondern,
where he was bailiff, because his wife was considered worthy of adorning
the new court, and Brandt distinguished her.

This change, however, was not effected without considerable
dissatisfaction, for it was an encroachment on the privileges which the
city had obtained at various times from the kings, and especially for its
glorious defence against the Swedes in 1759. Still it was a notorious
fact that the magistracy misapplied their power, and did not trouble
themselves at all about the proposals of the council of thirty-two
notables, and hence the new regulations found as many approvers as

The police of Copenhagen were next subjected to a different organization.
They were most severely prohibited from interfering any more in the
domestic affairs of the inhabitants, or troubling themselves about what
did and did not take place in private houses on Sundays, so that the
citizens of Copenhagen could henceforth say with the Englishman: "My
house is my castle."

In order to check the usual expense of funerals, which were frequently
carried on so extravagantly that the survivors were ruined, an order
was issued to the effect that, in future, all burials should take
place between one and six o'clock in the morning; but this period was
afterwards extended to nine o'clock. In Struensee's time there were
streets in Copenhagen without a name: the houses were not numbered,
and the lighting of the streets was in a wretched state. Orders were
therefore given to alter this at once, and light all the streets daily
with reverbère lamps from dusk till daylight.

The repulsive custom by which persons condemned of adultery were exposed
in the pillory and reprimanded by the clergyman of their parish in the
presence of the whole congregation, was prohibited; and it was ordered
by a royal decree that illegitimate birth should no longer be regarded
as dishonouring. Such a child would be christened precisely in the same
way, and within the same period, as legitimate children; its birth would
no longer be regarded as a lasting stain, or prevent it from learning a
trade, or carrying on business. At the same time, the domestic peace was
protected against calumny and denunciation by an order that no one but
the offended party should make a complaint about adultery.

The countless number of various law courts which existed in Copenhagen
and the rest of the country prior to Struensee's time,--such as the Aulic
Council, the Lower Court, the Upper Court, the Admiralty Court, the
Police Court, the Commercial Court, the Hospital Court, the Magistracy,
the Commercial College, the Consistory, &c.,--were all abolished on April
15, and, in their stead, a single jurisdiction,--"the Court and Town
Council of Copenhagen,"--was instituted. Land-surveyor Wessel, brother of
the celebrated satirical poet Peter Wessel, of whom the latter wrote, "He
surveys the land, and learns the laws, and is as industrious as I may be
called indolent," was appointed assessor of the new court. This step was
greatly abused by the lawyers; but the result soon proved that Struensee
had made a good choice, for within six weeks after the establishment of
the new court Wessel had got it into perfect working order.

Various changes and reductions now took place at court. The vacant post
of a Chief Master of the Ceremonies was not filled up. In the queen's
household, two ladies-in-waiting were dismissed,--Baroness von Wedel
and Fräulein von Eyben, the latter with a post in the noble convent
of St. John, at Schleswig, and a pension of 300 dollars. The numerous
supernumerary officers were dismissed; but, on the other hand, the staff
of valets was increased. In order that the pages might no longer be
admitted to that domestic and servile familiarity in the palace, which
only taught them intrigues and crooked paths to promotion, Struensee
discharged them all; and, in their place, three land and three sea
cadets, under the inspection of an officer, were ordered to wait on their
Majesties. These young men were only to remain at court for a year, and
then others would take their place. The pensions and salaries at court
were nearly all reduced, including that of Court-painter Als, who lost
nearly one-half of his 800 dollars a year. The number of horses kept
in the royal stud and stables was also reduced to one hundred, while
the sale of the superfluous cattle produced the sum of 30,000 dollars.
For the sake of economy, the embellishment and enlargement of the royal
palaces were also stopped.

During the extravagance of the preceding reign, the construction of
a marble church had been commenced, after the magnificent designs of
Jardin, a French architect. It was less an object of devotion than of
pomp and decoration. In the same reign, when the state became deeply
indebted, and frugality was necessary, the court reduced the annual
amount devoted to this church to 20,000 dollars: it was deferring its
completion for a century. Struensee cut the knot: he put a stop to the
works, broke the contracts with the stone contractors in Norway, and
offered Jardin, if he were willing to remain, an annual salary of 300
dollars, which sum a pupil of his would have rejected. The contractors
naturally declared that they were ruined: social economists complained
that it was a disgrace to the government to give up, for so slight a
cause, a magnificent undertaking, the expenses of which returned in a
thousand ways to the Treasury: artists protested against barbarism: and
the zealots were scandalized at the house of the Lord being deprived of
a trifling sum compared with that expended in the chase and playhouses.

Retrenchment in the administration was, however, even more necessary than
at court. Hence, in the first place, all those who had hitherto been in
the enjoyment of pensions from the king's privy purse, were ordered to
state their age, their position, and the services for which the pensions
had been granted, and a similar order was sent to the Board of Revenue
and the General Post Office. Many in consequence lost their pensions,
while those of others were reduced. It is true that several needy persons
were affected by this; but the changes, and especially the abolition of
franking, which had been scandalously misused by the officials, produced
savings and an augmented revenue. The latter was greatly aided by a
cabinet order to the effect that the Sound dues, which had hitherto been
paid into the king's privy purse, would henceforth be handed over to the

Unfortunately, the reductions effected in the king's household in this
way did not go so far as had been hoped, for the court cost more than
before, because Brandt consumed in his department all the savings made.
Masked and dress balls, pic-nics, the chase, a troupe of French actors,
the opera buffa, were all treated most profusely, and formed a revolting
contrast with the retrenchments which daily reduced some family to

However, no settled plan could be devised about a better arrangement of
the finances. Strangely enough, no agreement could be arrived at as to
the real amount of the in-comings and out-goings. Gähler estimated the
annual crown receipts at 6,250,000 dollars, but Rantzau at only 4,500,000
dollars. When Christian VII. ascended the throne, the state debt amounted
to 20,000,000 dollars, and, according to Gähler's calculations, was
now reduced to 13,980,000 dollars, but according to Rantzau, only to
15,000,000 dollars. The expenses amounted, according to Schimmelmann,
to only 4,154,650 dollars, but according to Rantzau to fully 6,000,000.
Nor could they agree as to the fundamental principles of the financial
system, although the great majority, of the council of conferences
decided against any extra taxation or income tax. On May 29 the
commission handed in its final report to the king, and met for the last
time on June 10.

On the same day as the privy commission of conferences sent in its last
report on financial matters, a College of Finances was established, and
the general Board of Customs abolished. According to the regulations for
the new college, it was to consist of four departments (1st, for Denmark;
2nd, for Norway; 3rd, for Schleswig-Holstein; and 4th, for Oldenburg).
Count von Holstein, Chief President of Copenhagen, the bürgermeister of
the capital, Thyge Rothe, Financial Councillor Oeder, and Councillor of
Justice Struensee, were appointed by the king deputies of the College of

Rothe had been a preceptor to Prince Frederick, but afterwards retired
to an estate which he obtained through his wife. Though an esteemed
writer in verse and prose, he possessed more imagination than common
sense. CHARLES AUGUSTUS STRUENSEE was an elder brother of the favourite,
professor of mathematics at the military school of Liegnitz, in Prussia,
and was well known as a writer on military subjects, and as translator
of the _Rêveries_ of Maréchal de Saxe, when he was appointed a Danish
Councillor, on November 13, 1669. Being now summoned by his brother to
Copenhagen, where he arrived at the close of April, 1771, he attracted
general attention, us the near relative of the all-powerful cabinet

Even Reverdil is willing to admit that the choice of Oeder and Struensee
for their present posts was not improper, except from the fact of the
latter's relationship. Both were upright and learned, and both had gained
a good deal of information connected with their new duties. Struensee
had observed the administration of the Prussian States; Oeder, while
travelling to study botany, had greatly reflected on the manner in which
countries were cultivated, or the faults connected with the collection of
taxes, and the oppression exercised by the officials.

The arts and sciences also became an object of attention to Struensee
and his adherents. The Academy for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture
at Charlottenborg, was provided with fresh regulations, of a nature
to render it of more practical use. For this purpose, all pupils who
wished to devote themselves to the arts obtained a gratuitous education,
and the distribution of large and small gold and silver medals, at
the public exhibitions, was promised as a reward to encourage merit.
In the same spirit, it was ordered that the Academy of Soroe should
in future be thrown open to the sons of bourgeois as well as of the
nobles. The intentions of the government connected with the latter order
were, however, not carried out, because the regulations were in direct
opposition to the will of the regenerator of the Academy, the celebrated
Danish playwright Holberg.

As regards trade, the principle was laid down, that factories which could
not support themselves should not be maintained at the expense of the
state. It was therefore resolved no longer to carry on any manufacture
on royal account, and several silk mills were closed. On the other hand,
the greatest possible extension of trade, by enlarging its liberties,
was recognized as a pressing necessity by the government, and many
regulations connected with this object were passed.

The government also provided public amusements for the inhabitants of
the capital, with the object of inducing other wealthy families to
take up their residence at Copenhagen. The winter amusements consisted
principally of the theatres. At the court theatre French performances
were given every Tuesday and Friday, to which not only men of rank and
position, but also respectable citizens, had free admission. After
the performance, they played at cards in the queen's rooms, and cold
refreshments were handed to them.

The Danish theatre, however, which, as has been stated, was under the
direction of Brandt and Capellmeister Sarti, was not only used for the
performance of German plays and Italian operas, but also for redoutes
and masquerades, for which free tickets of admission were sent out,
and on some occasions everybody was allowed to attend, as in the case
of the great masquerade of December 18. At the same time there was no
lack of public concerts, at which foreign artistes performed, and of
performances by travelling posture-masters and conjurors, among whom
Brambilla greatly distinguished himself as rope-dancer, pantomimist, and

Up to this time, certain portions of the Rosenborg Palace garden had been
closed against the public. These gardens, as well as those of the palace
of Frederiksberg, adjoining the western suburb of Copenhagen, were thrown
open to everybody towards the end of May; and on Sundays and holidays the
regimental bands played in the royal gardens and the great market-places.

Rosenborg was the favourite abode of Christian IV. When first erected, it
stood outside the capital, and was his summer residence when his royal
duties forbade his being at Frederiksborg. At the time when Struensee
threw the gardens open to the public, the flower-beds still flourished
under the care of an attentive gardener. The hedges were clipped square,
the orange trees formed into the shape of balls, and four large fountains
threw their jets high into the air, and caught them again in circular
marble basins. A buffet was erected in this garden, and the commission
was granted to a Mecklenburger of the name of Gabel, a protégé of
Struensee, who was afterwards permitted to open a faro bank. The gardens
were illuminated with coloured lamps, especially the great grove near the
spring and the neighbouring alleys. At times fireworks were let off, and
it was a fine sight to see the trees and the old palace illumined by the
ascending rockets, which threw a magic brilliancy over these memorials
of past ages, to leave them the next moment enveloped in the darkness
of the grave. The concerts at Rosenborg were frequently honoured by the
presence of the court, and the king and queen were accustomed to take
refreshments in the palace, and then mingle with the crowd.[147]

The zealots were very fierce in their denunciations of these popular
amusements. Formerly, they said, the act of profaning royal mansions by
clandestine amours was considered a crime punishable with the loss of a
finger-joint, and Struensee did worse in turning a royal garden into a
scene of libertinism. It must be allowed, that though the principal walks
were lit, the deepest gloom prevailed in the thickets, and the gardens
remained open till midnight. But the _parti prêtre_ had a better cause of
abuse in the faro table, even though the Foundling Hospital shared the
profits of the bank. This was no justification for the mistake committed
by the favourite, and led his enemies to spread a report that his great
object was utterly to corrupt morals, and make the whole people as
licentious as himself and his adherents.

On May 19, Struensee effected a reduction in the army, which produced a
most disagreeable impression on the whole nation, and must be regarded
as one of the principal causes of his rapid overthrow. This was the
abolition of the two squadrons of Royal Horse Guards, composed of picked
handsome men. The Guards greatly annoyed the favourite, for several of
the officers were men of high birth, and had the right of appearing at
court when they pleased. This suppression might be a useful economy,
and the task was already far advanced. Count de St. Germain, when he
became minister in 1762, found four squadrons of _gardes du corps_, and
two regiments of Foot Guards. He reduced them to two squadrons and a
battalion, forming a single corps under the same commandant, and wearing
the same uniform. The nation believed that this was the minimum, and that
the king could not be guarded by less than seven hundred and twenty men.
Struensee, however, abolished the two squadrons by a stroke of the pen.

Those officers who could not be at once attached to other cavalry
regiments were placed on half-pay; but the non-commissioned officers and
privates received nothing, as they had the option of entering the Foot
Guards. The latter mounted guard at the palace three days after the order
for disbanding the _gardes du corps_ was made known. Struensee's enemies
regarded this step as an attack on the king's majesty and prestige,
and expressed their opinion loudly, especially when this occurrence
offered an opportunity for exposing one of the weaknesses of Struensee's
character. When the Guards were returning to barracks from the parade,
where the king's order had been read to them, for the purpose of giving
over their horses, Struensee met them. Frightened by this most unexpected
rencontre, and believing that the Horse Guards had mutinied, he retired
in great haste, tore a leaf out of his pocket-book, and wrote a few
hurried lines in pencil to Count Ahlefeldt, in which he sent in his
resignation as cabinet secretary to the king.

It can be easily imagined what a sensation this event created when the
report of it spread through the city. Struensee himself, however, ought
to have learned through his discovery of his personal character, that
he was deficient in the most important quality of a state reformer--an
undaunted heart.

It was soon seen what was the cause of the disbandment of the _gardes
du corps_ when a cabinet order was issued establishing a model corps,
or what was called the "flying body guard," which was to take the place
of the disbanded squadron, under the command of Colonel Numsen, and be
composed of detachments from the different cavalry regiments. The reason
alleged for the change was, that these detachments would regularly
relieve one another; and as each would manœuvre in presence of the
king, the officers would all know their master, and be known by him.
Economy was not the motive of the change, for these troops were granted
privileges, under pretext of the dearness of food, which swallowed up all
the savings. According to Reverdil, Struensee's real object was to form
the cavalry himself; he was a good rider, and thought he would make a
capital inspector-general. Nothing was right but what he did himself;
but, on this occasion, he concealed his vanity by a variety of pretexts.

The next regulation for the army appeared to be just, as it abolished
all the privileges and precedence of the officers of the corps of land
cadets, the guards, and the artillery, and placed them exactly on the
same footing as the other officers of the army and navy, but it was
evident that this order was intended as a humiliation for the nobility.
As Struensee was accustomed to consult Colonel von Falckenskjold
frequently about the reforms in the army, his opponents spread a
report that the colonel had advised this measure through jealousy of
the privileged officers, but this was a weak invention of the enemy.
Falckenskjold himself was one of the privileged officers, as commandant
of one of the king's own regiments, and possessed too noble a character
to entertain treacherous ideas. Moreover, at the time of the projected
reforms he was not in Copenhagen, but had been sent on diplomatic
business to Petersburg.

One of the most brilliant phases of Struensee's short government was
certainly his desire to maintain the independence of Denmark against
foreign powers. His attention was principally directed toward Russia,
which court he was well aware was very angry at the loss of its influence
in Copenhagen. In spite of the appointment of Von der Osten as foreign
minister, and his exertions to remove the unfavourable impression at
Petersburg, the chagrin felt at the fancied insult was still so great,
that hostilities were even meditated. Threatening reports of such an
intention were spread about Copenhagen, and Rantzau expressed himself
loudly about the Russian plans. But Struensee did not allow himself to be
led astray by this, and recognised too fully the value of the territorial
exchange for Denmark to let himself be led into counter-demonstrations.
He merely consulted Von der Osten and Von Falckenskjold about the
disputes with the powerful neighbour in the Baltic, and at length
decided on sending Colonel von Falckenskjold to Petersburg, as a man
well respected there, in order to arrange the misunderstanding. The
instructions which Falckenskjold received for this mission, contained
assurances of the friendly sentiments of the King of Denmark, but also
had a peculiar addition in the offer to let the Danish fleet operate in
future with the Russian against any enemies of the latter power.

Provided with letters of credit, written by the king himself, and
accompanied by Lieutenant von Beringskjold (whose father, employed as
a Danish spy in Russia during the reign of Peter III., and then as a
Russian reporter in Denmark, had been ennobled by the Danish court,
and enriched by the Russian), Falckenskjold set out from Copenhagen on
May 21, and returned from Petersburg early in the following August.
From the beginning he had doubted of any favourable result of his
negociations, and the result was nearly to that effect. The Petersburg
cabinet attached but little value to Denmark's proffered alliance; but,
through Falckenskjold's representations, was induced to make the reply,
that they were ready to carry out the treaty of 1768, if Bernstorff
were recalled, and Von der Osten and Rantzau-Ascheberg removed from the
government.[148] With these prospects the envoy returned to Copenhagen,
after convincing himself at St. Petersburg that Prussia would employ
every effort to prevent the misunderstanding between Russia and Denmark
from being made up. Still the proposals for a renewal of the alliance
were so acceptable, that Falckenskjold believed he had brought Struensee
over to his way of thinking, although the favourite hesitated about
removing Rantzau, to whom he fancied himself so greatly indebted, until
Falckenskjold represented to him the impropriety of allowing himself to
be made an instrument of this adventurer's revenge. Struensee, however,
hesitated about giving any definitive explanation, and merely expressed
his satisfaction that Falckenskjold had prevented an open breach with

Suddenly, the rumour of an impending attack on Copenhagen was renewed.
It was stated that the empress was determined to bombard the city, and
for this purpose was equipping six ships of the line and four frigates,
which would immediately set sail from Cronstadt. It was evident that
this demonstration was only designed to force the King of Denmark into
getting rid of Struensee. But the favourite was well aware that Russia
might have ships, but had not a sufficient number of sailors to equip a
fleet. Hence he did not trouble himself much about the renewed report,
but satisfied himself with hastily fitting out three ships of the line
and two frigates, and giving orders to build several bomb-ketches.
This latter job was set about so effectively at the naval docks, that,
although the order was only issued on March 29, two bomb-galleys were
launched on May 24, two more on June 16, and on June 29 a mortar hulk,
although, at the same time, men-of-war were being equipped to defend the
capital, for the expedition against the Algerines, and as a convoy for
the West Indiamen. All these ships were manned with equal rapidity, for
sailors flocked into the capital from every part of the monarchy. The
whole turmoil of war, however, soon disappeared again, as nothing more
was heard about a Russian fleet in the Baltic.


[Footnote 140: The reader will please make a distinction between
Frederiks_berg_ and Frederiks_borg_. The former was hardly a league from
the capital; the latter, about twenty miles off, in the vicinity of
Fredensborg and Hirschholm.]

[Footnote 141: Brown's "Northern Courts," vol. i. p. 108.]

[Footnote 142: Höst, vol. iii. p. 20.]

[Footnote 143: Reverdil, p. 287.]

[Footnote 144: Sir R. M. Keith, writing to his father on October 30,
1771, says: "When I was upon the road to this city, I heard of the
downfall of a Monsieur de W--, who had been in high favour with the
sovereign, and raised from page to two or three handsome posts at court.
This young gentleman had fancied to himself that he had become a man of
importance, and began to vapour: when Struensee dismissed the mighty
Maréchal de la Cour, Chambellan, &c., &c., in a very laughable manner, by
creating him very unexpectedly lieutenant of Dragoons in a regiment in
Jütland! and sending him to his garrison with a small pension. He became,
probably, as awkward a lieutenant as he had been a courtier; however,
his military progress is again at a stand, as he was called back to
town yesterday (to my great amusement), and will immediately resume his
functions as a wag of the court!"]

[Footnote 145: When a Copenhagen official was dismissed during
Struensee's short reign, a groom of the royal stud mounted on a yellow
horse, generally handed him his discharge. Hence it became a permanent
question in the capital: "whom did the yellow visit last?"]

[Footnote 146: Reverdil, p. 142.]

[Footnote 147: According to Reverdil, these amusements only perpetuated
what had been done for a fête given to the Duke of Gloucester, on his
paying his royal sister a visit. The garden at Frederiksberg, which was
much larger than that of Rosenborg, was on that occasion magnificently
illuminated and decorated, and maskers visited it for three consecutive

[Footnote 148: "Falckenskjold's Memoirs," p. 121.]




The court remained till June 6 at the palace of Christiansborg. The
festivities that took place here were all arranged by Brandt, who
felt quite in his element while doing so, and never displayed any
inclination to interfere in affairs of state. But Struensee demanded
resolution, even in court matters, and acted on the principle that, if
a man wanted to reform an intriguing court, it could not be effected
with paternal indulgence. Still he was frequently obliged to give way.
At the small court balls, natural merriment at first prevailed, until a
dancing-master, favoured by the Countess Holstein, introduced pomp and
art. That she was able to effect this, although the king and queen did
not care fix formal dances, was ascribed to the power which she possessed
over Brandt.

As regards the theatre, both the king and queen preferred comedies to
tragedies, and Struensee demanded that their Majesties' wishes should be
carried out; more especially, as there were no good tragic actors. He
was also of opinion that the cheapest troupe of comedians was the best,
and that the music required at the performances could be entrusted to
the regimental bands. Brandt, on the contrary, entertained different
views: he wished to introduce another and purer taste at court, and did
not like to run the risk of being laughed at by foreign guests at court
festivities. This was allowed him, on condition that he undertook the
most responsible duty of being with the king day and night. He dressed
him, which formerly the valet and Von Warnstedt had done; and had to
introduce all those persons who were allowed admission to the king, but
report to Struensee everything that occurred during the interview.

The connexion between the king and his chamberlain, however, was not that
of a master with his servant, but exactly like that between two men of
equal rank; for King Christian would not have any ceremony, and desired
perfect freedom of action on the part of his immediate _entourage_. Thus
his most gracious Majesty had behaved to Holck and Warnstedt, and he
expected the same from Brandt. It was the king's expressed wish, that
any one who was continually about him should forget that he was the
king. Whenever Brandt attempted to show his Majesty the reverence which
became a subject, the king at once ridiculed him, by bowing to him with
a sarcastic "your most obedient servant." But Brandt found no pleasure
in this free and easy style, and was generally dissatisfied with his
position, which forced him to be constantly with the king, and deprived
him of every opportunity to enjoy the society of his beloved Frau von
Holstein. This amour even rendered him indifferent to Struensee, with
whom he was angry besides, because he did not consider himself honoured
in proportion to his fancied merits; for it had been he who recommended
Struensee to Holck as travelling doctor, and had satisfied Bernstorff
as regarded him. Lastly, Brandt was annoyed at his and his lady-love's
repeated heavy losses at cards, although he himself had insisted on
high stakes, and the king and queen liked the fascinating game of loo.
And even though Brandt's losses amounted to nearly 2,000 dollars in a
single month, still, what he lost in this way was amply made up by royal
presents. He received, in the first instance, a gratification of 10,000,
and afterwards 50,000, dollars from the king's privy purse.

When the winter amusements were at an end, the summer days were employed
for excursions to the palace of Frederiksborg. On June 6, their Majesties
removed to Hirschholm, after being present on the previous day at the
last races of the year. This palace and the park now became the scene
of incessant festivities, concerts, balls, French plays, and hunting
parties, succeeding each other rapidly; but the queen's interesting
situation did not allow her to take an active part in them. The king
drove at times to town to attend the French plays, but he was in such
a weak state of health, that, by the advice of Berger, his physician,
he began taking cold baths again in June, and continued to do so till
the following September. The physician paid the greatest attention to
the king, and sent in a daily report to Struensee about his patient's
condition and the progress of his cure. That stimulants were given the
king to enable him to carry on his amorous excesses, is untrue, even
though Landgrave Charles, his brother-in-law, states the fact.[149]

Queen Juliana Maria and her son Frederick had retired on May 24 to
Fredensborg, where they lived in great seclusion, and left the palace
as rarely as they received visitors. Princess Charlotte Amelia, the
benefactress of the poor, was staying at the palace of Frederiksborg.

The royal couple had been residing a month at Hirschholm, when Queen
Caroline Matilda was delivered of a daughter, at eleven on the morning
of July 7. A military and a naval officer at once conveyed the glad
tidings to Copenhagen, where the birth of a princess was announced to the
people from the balcony of the Christiansborg, and commemorated by salvos
of artillery from the ramparts and the arsenal, and by the playing of
trumpets from the Town Hall and the church towers.

Unfortunately, Struensee assisted in the accouchement with Berger,[150]
and no other physicians were afterwards called in. This gave fresh
animation to the impertinent speeches and remarks which had long been
made, and they became the more serious because it was said that they
were frequently heard at Fredensborg. Here they could no longer retain
the quality of a harmless satire, which people easily forget: they were
repeated and dipped in gall by persons of rank, who only too willingly
listened to them, and in whose hands they might turn into dangerous
weapons. Here, too, they were no longer the frivolous gossip of an
impotent mob, but might give rise to serious measures.[151]

The royal patient progressed so favourably that she was able to suckle
her child; and on July 22, the twenty-first birthday of the young queen,
the newborn princess was christened at Hirschholm, with the names of
Louisa Augusta,[152] after the late queen of Denmark and H.R.H. the
Princess Dowager of Wales. The sponsors present were his Majesty the King
of Denmark, with his brother, Prince Frederick, and the Dowager Queen,
Juliana Maria.[153]

While these events were taking place at court, a change occurred in the
government, which was followed by the most weighty consequences, and was
an unique instance in Danish history.

Up to the present time, Struensee had been _maître des requêtes_, with
the title of Councillor of Conference, and had occupied, as we have seen,
the Mezzanine, in Christiansborg Palace. But we have also seen that, in
this capacity, he governed the state and the court. The king gave his
assent to everything that Struensee proposed; and the latter had hitherto
employed this influence in carrying out useful reforms in the government
and legislature. At the same time, however, he obtained large sums for
himself and his friends out of the resources of the state. Although
he had no expenses of his own, not even for the banquets he gave, he
received, a couple of months after his appointment as _maître des
requêtes_, a present of 10,000 dollars from the king, and obtained the
same sum for Brandt. But not satisfied with this, he proposed, in April,
that what was called the "treasure," or a sum of money set apart for
unforeseen expenses, should be paid into the public exchequer, and then
obtained an order to pay 250,000 dollars of this amount into the privy
purse, which was under his sole control. But this large sum had been
reduced, by the end of May, to 118,000 dollars, the deficit having been
expended in presents,--Struensee and Brandt receiving 100,000 dollars to
divide between them; and they did so at a time when so many salaries and
pensions were reduced.

But it was now shown that Struensee would not be satisfied with being
the favourite of the king and queen, and having decided influence in all
affairs of state. Hence he induced the king to appoint him, on July 14,
1771, Privy Cabinet Minister, with an authority which no subject had ever
before held in Denmark. The document is so remarkable, that I quote it
_in extenso_:--

_To the ---- College._

Having appointed Master of Requests Struensee my Privy Cabinet Minister,
I have prescribed to him, by an order under my own hand, the following
points, which he must observe in drawing up cabinet orders:

1. All orders which I may give him orally shall be drawn up by him
in accordance with my meaning; and he shall lay them before me for
signature, or issue them in my name, under the cabinet seal.

2. All orders addressed to a college, on the representation of another
college, shall be drawn up by him, and no longer be effected through an
order in the college, or through the "communication."

3. An extract from the cabinet orders issued shall be laid before me
weekly for approval.

4. The cabinet orders issued in this way shall have the same validity
as those drawn up by my hand. They shall be immediately obeyed, both by
the colleges and subaltern officials, in case there is no royal order or
resolution to the contrary; in which case it will be at once reported to
the cabinet. In all other cases, the colleges and departments must send
to me the contents of the order and a report of its execution.

       *       *       *       *       *

In consequence, this is made known to the ---- College; and it is ordered
punctually to obey the points affecting the college herein contained, and
make them known, for the same purpose, to its subordinate officials.




    HIRSCHHOLM, _July 15, 1771_.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may notice here the favourite's ignorance of forms. When his patent as
Count was granted him, he would have countersigned it himself, had not
Hoier, who was present, warned him. But the royal order appointing him
prime minister was communicated to the departments and the ministers of
the foreign courts by copies countersigned by himself alone.

As Reverdil very justly remarks, the king, after declaring to all Europe
that he intended himself to govern, suddenly delegated his whole power
to one man; and it was conferred with less pomp and formality than
would have been used in former times with an order of the Treasury.
No one attested to having been present at so important a deliberation
except the man who was the subject of it. Struensee suddenly found
himself transformed from an officer of the palace into a grand vizier,
and invested with greater power than had ever been granted to the
chancellors, or even the lieutenant-generals of the kingdom,--known
in the time of the aristocracy by the name of grand masters. Thus was
accomplished what Struensee had announced at the outset of his career.
He had told Reverdil's faithful friend, Hoier, and probably many other
persons, that everything was vicious in the government of the state, and
that he would not leave one stone of it upon the other.

The nation, revolted by so rapid a fortune, by this unlimited power
entrusted to a stranger and a parvenu, considered it a crime on his
part to accept it; and even a crime foreseen by the regulations of the
_Lex Regia_,[154] the only unchangeable law in the kingdom. Article
twenty-six of this law enjoins the future kings to defend their
hereditary rights, and never allow them to be encroached on; declares
null and void any powers granted to the prejudice of the royal authority;
and proclaims those who had obtained them guilty of high treason. It was
asserted that the man whose orders were to be obeyed without any external
proof that they emanated from the king, had arrogated a portion of the
sovereign authority; and this interpretation, forced though it was, was
seriously alleged hereafter.

It is plain that the rescripts and orders of the government were, as
before, drawn up in accordance with article seven of the _Lex Regia_
in the king's name and under his seal; and Struensee could not be
responsible because the king did not always think proper to sign with his
own hand, as the article demands. But even the signature in the king's
name could not be regarded as an encroachment on the king's autocracy;
for, by article twenty-six the king is left at liberty either to sign
orders himself, or to let them be signed in his name by other persons,
whenever he thinks proper. That the _Lex Regia_ also does not regard the
autograph signature of the king as a material component of autocracy is
clearly seen from article nine, in which it is prescribed that in cases
when the king is not of age, the regent shall sign in his name, but the
royal authority remain undiminished. Lastly, it is proved that the
letter of the law had not hitherto been so explained as to render the
royal signature of such consequence as the drawing up of the deed in his
name, by the fact that not only the colleges, but also officials up to
very recent times, made known the king's will in his name but without
his signature. Yet it is a very difficult question to solve, whether
Struensee did not misapply the king's confidence by issuing orders that
differed from those which the monarch had given him.

Struensee's best friends were shocked by the sudden display of his
favour revealed in this new appointment. Thus, Von Berger, the physician
in ordinary, and other respected men at court, expressed their
dissatisfaction at Struensee's unreflecting step. Even Lieutenant-General
von Gähler, though usually devoted to the favourite, felt aggrieved,
though it is but fair to allow that he had sunk in the daring reformer's
favour by opposing the disbandment of the _gardes du corps_.

It was not stated in the royal proclamation what rank was to be connected
with the new post of a cabinet minister, but people at court already
began addressing Struensee by the title of Excellency. Scarce a week
after this elevation, another took place, by which Brandt also profited.
Both men were raised to the rank of Danish Counts on July 30, 1771, but
the Latin diplomas, in which they were justified to call their ancestors
up to the third generation Counts and Countesses, were not drawn up till
September 30.

The coat of arms selected by Struensee, and engraved on the cabinet seal,
was a remarkable allusion to his regency and system of government. The
escutcheon (symbolical of the state) was divided into five fields, the
centre one of which represented a sailing vessel (the symbol of commerce)
with a crown over it, typical of the monarch and the persons representing
him. The first and fourth quarters displayed four rivers (exports and
imports idealized) on a field _or_, which was the symbol of Denmark, rich
in corn, and Norway, abounding in metal, wood, and fish. In the third
and second quarters was a crown surrounded with palm leaves (the symbol
of peace and victory) and two crossed keys (the image of authority and
might) on a field _azure_, which allegorically typified fidelity and
constancy. Below the coat of arms was the royal crown with the badge of
the Matilda order, surrounded by a laurel wreath (the symbol of fortune,
joy, and honour), from which flowed two rivers running round the chief
escutcheon (the state), supported by two beavers (the representatives of
industry and architecture), and guarded by bourgeois helmets (emblems
of national armament), counts' crowns (the symbol of the servant of the
state), and an owl holding a key in its mouth (as allegories of thought
and reflection). Above the whole was displayed between two eagle wings
(the symbols of power, strength, and victory) a man-of-war in full
sail (typical of the navy), and above this, again, a suspended crown,
surrounded by palm branches (the type of peace).[155] Brandt, on the
other hand, took the seal of his ancestor, Councillor of the Exchequer
Peter Brandt, as his coat of arms.

No estates were connected with the dignity of the new counts. It was
certainly reported that the large domains of Wemmetofte and Wallô, in
Seeland, were intended for Struensee, and other estates for Brandt. But
that Struensee was of a different opinion was proved by the answer he
gave to a letter which Brandt wrote him on this subject. He said that if
the king really intended so exaggerated a mark of kindness for him, he
should in no way promote it, but, on the contrary, oppose it.

Within two short years, Struensee had made really gigantic strides on the
slippery path of court favour. By his elevation to the rank of a privy
cabinet minister and of count, fourteen months after his appointment as
reader to the king and cabinet secretary to the queen, he had attained
the highest post in the kingdom. Possessing the unbounded confidence
of the most absolute monarch in Europe, he stood immediately next to
the throne, and the world gazed in amazement upon his fortune and his

In the new period commencing with Struensee's cabinet ministry, so many
changes and improvements no longer took place. The necessity for them,
indeed, was not so great, as reforms had been undertaken in nearly every
branch of the administration. In the highest government colleges better
management and simplification, and a more rapid settlement of business,
had been introduced. The finances were managed on a fixed plan; all
the various in-comings and out-goings of the state were entrusted to
a single direction, and retrenchments introduced to pay off the state
debts. The administration of justice had been partially improved, and the
privileges of the nobles restricted. Men of birth and of no birth were
henceforth equally obliged to work their way up to the highest offices
from the lowest round of the ladder. Catholics and reformers were allowed
to worship as they pleased, and religious liberty existed _de facto_,
if not by law. We may assume that the clergy of the strictly Lutheran
country were not particularly edified by this, but no one dared to oppose
it openly, and hence the only measure taken was drawing up a private
list of the supposed attacks on the state religion. The liberty of the
press knew no bounds, but was shamefully employed in disgraceful attacks
upon its founders. For people not only ventured openly to abuse many of
Struensee's useful reforms, but made the most impudent attacks both on
the minister and their reigning Majesties. Struensee, however, considered
it beneath his dignity to punish these attacks, and did not even take
the slightest trouble to discover the authors.

Justiz-rath Struensee, the favourite's brother, had by this time attained
an influential position. He was at the head of the German Chancery of
Finances, but in spite of his valuable qualities, had a high opinion of
himself, and was evidently striving for more extended influence, both on
his own account and that of the college to which he belonged. He wrote in
July to a friend, that he was really, if not nominally, the sole manager
of the finances of the monarchy. He also strove to obtain the post of a
Controller-General of the Finances; but though his brother placed great
confidence in him, he opposed the establishment of such a high office.
The Mint and the Bank were, as a compensation, placed entirely under the
management of Justiz-rath Struensee, and he conducted these important
institutions skilfully and honestly. As director of the Mint, he coined
very handsome _christians d'or_ and species ducats, but also meditated
the erroneous plan of publicly letting the salt and tobacco trades as
monopolies. Fortunately for the country, the catastrophe that ensued soon
after prevented the execution of this scheme.

One of the most humane ameliorations during Struensee's ministry was
the abolition of what was called "the sharp examination," by which a
confession was extorted from any prisoner against whom there was strong
evidence by employing the dagg, or knout. In the order issued to this
effect it was stated that the king would sooner let a criminal escape
than see one possibly innocent man ill-treated.[156]

Foreign affairs toward the close of 1771 stood much on the same
footing as in the past. The greatest cordiality subsisted with Sweden.
Chamberlain Baron von Gyldencrone was appointed envoy at Stockholm, and
instructed not to interfere in Swedish home affairs, and not to act like
his predecessor upon an understanding with England and Russia, but to
join the policy of Sweden and France. Moreover, Count Joachim Göttsche
von Moltke was sent as envoy extraordinary to the Swedish court, to
congratulate Gustavus III. on his accession. As a present for the new
king, Moltke took with him a fine apple-grey saddle-horse from the royal
stud, with which Gustavus was so pleased, that he resolved to ride it at
his approaching coronation.

A present was also made the King of France, consisting of nineteen
Icelandic hawks, for Struensee displayed a predominant attachment for
the courts of France and Sweden. As a return for these sentiments, the
ministers of these two courts were on very friendly relations with him,
and alone of all the foreign envoys attended his levees. Struensee
behaved with great coldness and reserve to the newly appointed English
minister, Colonel Keith, as he had done to his predecessor, Gunning,
and did not even offer him the ordinary courtesy. But he behaved in a
precisely similar manner to the Russian _chargé d'affaires_, Filosofow's

We can easily understand that Struensee had raised himself an ample crop
of foes by the numerous reforms he had undertaken in the government.
The nobility, owing to their traditional belief that they had a right
to the most profitable offices, were excessively annoyed that the privy
council was abolished, that presidential posts were not filled up, that
orders and rank no longer possessed their former value, and that people
of _bourgeois_ origin exercised an influence in the government. The
officials dismissed with no pension, or a very small one, were indignant
at the humiliation and the loss of income. The abolition of the numerous
Church holidays, and the alleged desecration of the Sabbath; the order
that the church of the Frederick's Hospital, and the chapel of the
Convalescents' Home at Sölleröd, near Copenhagen, should be converted
into wards for venereal patients; the rare appearance of the court at
church; and lastly, the changes made in the law, by which the mothers
of illegitimate children were no longer punished; marriages within the
hitherto prohibited degrees were allowed;[157] and a charge of adultery
could only be brought by the offended party,--all this had aroused the
whole of the clergy and many laymen against Struensee. The pietists even
went so far as to declare the hard winter of 1770, and the bad harvest of
1771, a punishment from Heaven for these offences against the Christian
religion. The income of the industrial classes was lessened, because many
families who lived expensively had quitted the capital; poor persons
complained about the use of stamps and augmented taxes, and the sailors
and dockyard-men were offended at having been excluded from all the grand
doings on the king's birthday, and the loss of their perquisites in the
shape of chips, &c., which they carried home for firewood.

Many persons even believed that Struensee entertained far higher plans,
and saw in him a nascent Cromwell. All patriots disapproved of the
contradictory conduct of the government, which was constantly talking of
retrenchment, and yet, at the same time, threw away large sums in the
prosecution of the useless war against the Dey of Algiers. In addition,
many persons were grieved that ladies who had a bad reputation still
possessed great influence in the highest circles, although, by a public
promise, offices of state were no longer to be filled up by favour and
recommendation, but solely through ability and merit. All Danish patriots
felt most insulted, because the cabinet minister still thought it not
worth his trouble to acquire the Danish language, and that all the
government decrees were issued in German, though everybody knew that the
king both spoke and wrote Danish. Not only were the cabinet orders drawn
up in Danish, but the colleges, which had formerly reported in Danish,
were now forced to have their reports to the cabinet translated into
German, so that the minister might understand them. The Danish Chancery
and the Admiralty, it is true, still continued to draw up their reports
in Danish; but it was also said that the minister took no trouble to
discover their contents, but merely read a short German _précis_ which
was laid before him, and then issued a resolution in German, which had
to be translated into Danish in the colleges, if found necessary to be
brought to the public knowledge. Petitioners who wished to apply to the
cabinet generally had their letters translated into German, because
they thought that a Danish petition would not be heeded; but these
translations were often so unsuccessful, that their meaning could hardly
be understood. In excuse for Struensee's offences against the national
pride of the Danes, it may be alleged, however, that several of the
ministers before him did not understand Danish. The same was the case
with Schulin, the recently-dismissed Bernstorff, Berkentin, Ahlefeldt,
and many high officials, both military and civil, but never in the

Many men of position, who had either caused Struensee's summons to
court, or had been devoted to him, became gradually indisposed, and,
at last, even hostile to him. At the head of the latter stood Count
Rantzau-Ascheberg. If there was any man in the kingdom from whom
Struensee might justly think he had nothing to fear, it was Rantzau:
but he was detested by him. This hatred sprung up on the day when
Struensee, recognising the falsity of all the views he had heard in his
conversations with the count at Altona, and how much the count mingled
passion with a few flashes of genius, entirely neglected his advice.
Rantzau, far from sharing the power of a minister whom he regarded as
his creature, was given the third post in the Council of the Generalty.
Thus, after so many successful intrigues, after succeeding in routing
his principal enemies, and commanding for a short period, he saw himself
the client of a doctor, and neglected by the man whom he had trained: he
was reduced, like him, to be the mark of public hatred, without enjoying
the credit, and gathering the favours of every description, which he had
expected from this ungrateful man.

Rantzau was probably most indignant because Struensee refused to pay
his heavy debts, and even intimated that he had no influence over the
cabinet. Rantzau was, in truth, in great difficulties, and yet retained
his taste for extravagance. He fancied that he had at least found a right
to live at peace, while his creditors did not leave him alone, even amid
the faction to which he belonged. The revenue of his patrimonial estate
of Ascheberg scarcely sufficed to pay the interest of his own debts and
those of his father. In the hope that, at the worst, court presents would
enable him to liquidate them, he suggested a new law, which would afford
the nobles a sure protection against their creditors. His duns becoming
importunate, he wished to employ his right as a gentleman of Holstein,
and send them to do their best and worst on his estates. The creditors
asked the advice of the Chancery, which answered, with the knowledge of
the cabinet, that his person was no more inviolate than his property.
Rantzau compared himself to a hare whom the hunters had pursued to its

Disappointed in all his expectations, Rantzau began to speculate on
Struensee's downfall, and for this purpose made common cause with the two
colonels, Von Köller and Von Sames, who were also greatly in debt. He
even sent his tool, Beringskjold, to negotiate with Count von Bernstorff,
who was the idol of the patriots, and whom his disgrace had rendered very
popular. Bernstorff at first listened very attentively, as long as the
conversation turned on the bad government of the state, and the hope of
an accommodation with Russia, but at the name of the Count von Rantzau he
at once broke off the interview. "The count is well aware," he replied,
"that I cannot trust to him, or enter into any affair in which he mixes
himself up."[159]

Rantzau next turned his attention to the watchful Queen Juliana Maria,
whom, though at first turned against him, and suspicious of his designs,
he soon won over by his cajolery. Still he did not quite trust the royal
lady, because he had himself helped to transfer the power at Petersburg
to other hands, and had been poorly rewarded for doing so.

Struensee's next important enemy was Lieutenant-General von Gähler,
with whom he had formerly stood on intimate terms, and who had greatly
assisted in overthrowing the old form of government, but had been
indisposed toward the cabinet minister since his appointment. Yet there
was no open breach between the two men, for the general and his wife, who
had both received the Order of Matilda, belonged to the queen's immediate

Von Berger, the physician in ordinary, and Councillor of Legation Sturtz,
also formerly adherents of Struensee, were now becoming more and more
estranged from him. Sturtz's dissatisfaction dated from the downfall of
Bernstorff, with whom he maintained a regular correspondence; but though
he was displeased with the favourite, he equally detested Rantzau, in
whom he saw a personal foe.

But even the man who owed everything to Struensee, whom the latter had
made what he now was at court--Count Brandt--was not at all a trustworthy
friend. Having long been tired of his position at court, he wrote to
Struensee, and proposed to him to appoint Colonel von Falckenskjold in
his place as permanent attendant on the king. At the same time, he
applied personally to Von Falckenskjold, and offered him his post and
a sum of 20,000 dollars. But the colonel again declined, even though
Struensee urged his acceptance, alleging his invincible repugnance for
court offices. They therefore resolved to recall Reverdil, whom the king
liked, and who was a mutual friend of Brandt and Struensee, and appoint
him reader and librarian to the king.

During the king's journey in 1768, Reverdil heard from several quarters
that his ex-master spoke of him without bitterness, and with esteem.
Schumacher, Reverdil's successor in the post of cabinet secretary, an
honest man and no courtier, solicited his predecessor to pay his court at
Paris or Strasburg. Reverdil heard from all quarters that the king, since
his return, was entirely changed, that he had corrected his causticity,
and dismissed those who had an audience quite satisfied. All this induced
Reverdil to write the king a letter of congratulation on his return to
his states, and he learned that this letter was favourably received,
and that the king would have answered it had he not been dissuaded from
doing so by Holck. When this favourite was dismissed, Reverdil received
an autograph letter from his Majesty, in which he stated that he had
not forgotten Reverdil's good services, and begged him to transmit any
reflections which his retirement had suggested to him.

Not receiving any further orders, Reverdil remained quiet till he
was surprised by a letter from Struensee, to the effect that the king
desired his return; that he wished to resume with him the operation of
enfranchising the serfs, and to employ him in drawing up other laws
he projected, and that Reverdil had only to propose his conditions.
Reverdil raised some objections, which gave him time to consult a friend
in Copenhagen, in whom he placed the most perfect confidence, and who
had been promoted by Struensee, and to ask the advice of Count von
Bernstorff, who had such cause to complain of the favourite. The answers
were precisely the contrary of what might have been expected. The man
promoted by Struensee sent a long list of persons removed, transferred,
and dismissed, in less than a year, and gave Reverdil to understand that
he need not calculate on greater stability. Bernstorff, on the other
hand, urged him to return. The letter is in every respect worthy of

"Of everything I have hitherto seen of Struensee nothing has so much
surprised and struck me, sir, as the letter written to you, for it is
the only one of his actions and measures that has caused me pleasure. I
confess that I did not at all expect it. You are aware of the reasons
which persuaded me that, far from recalling you, you were one of the
men whose absence would be most desired. I see that I was mistaken,
but I do not see the causes of my error, and though I have reflected
during the two or three days that have elapsed since the receipt of your
letter, I cannot discover them. If I could flatter myself that they
had changed their plans, that their intentions had become pure, that
they were seeking in good faith to revive the mind and the heart; that
they consented to share merit and confidence; that they had determined
to reopen a door, hitherto triply bolted against those who have not
taken an oath of fidelity in their favour, and adopted their deplorable
principles; if, I say, I could conceive any shadow of a hope of this
nature, I could understand the invitation that has been made you as the
most natural, most just, and best conceived thing in the world; but I do
not see in the other measures that are daily taken, anything authorising
me to form such an opinion, or anything announcing an alteration in the
maxims hitherto established and followed. Favour, credit, politics, and
administration, are still founded on principles diametrically opposed
to yours and to your way of thinking. What, then, can be the object
that determines them to recall you who are free, virtuous, and humane;
you, who, thinking as you do, cannot and will not play the part of a
silent witness of the scenes which may take place in your presence, and
to bring you nearer the person of a king who, in his heart, esteems you
more than all those who surround him, and from whom, moreover, they keep
every thinking and feeling being aloof with an exaggerated affectation?
It is true, and I do this justice to the favourite, and those who share
his confidence, that their intentions are sincere in favour of the
liberty of the serfs, for this liberty does not cross any of their views.
Hence, this is a good thing they have resolved to do, the more securely
because, having resolved mortally to afflict the other orders of the
state, they are seeking a support in the affection of the people and the
troops. It is very possible that in this respect they sincerely desire
the aid of your zeal and information; but can they imagine that you will
be satisfied with sharing with the members of the commission already
established the painful labour of the infinite arrangements and details
of this operation, and applaud the rest of their manœuvres? I repeat,
that I do not at all understand it, unless Divine Providence, which has
possibly destined you to recall the claims of virtue and humanity at a
spot where they are only remembered to be jeered at, and which gains its
ends even by the ministration of its most avowed enemies, has ordered
their prevailing passions to fall asleep, and prepare the way for your
return. This idea is the sole one which I like, and which I believe I
ought to cling to. Please Heaven that the event may justify it.

"You see, sir, from what I have just told you, that my information will
be of but slight use to you, and that my heart, filled with esteem,
tenderness, and confidence for you, could not venture to advise your
return to the unfortunate country to which I am alluding: but that
it passionately desires that, without its advice, you may form the
resolution of doing so. If there is, in these deplorable conjunctures,
a man who is capable of being useful to the king, and through him to
the state, it is yourself. But God alone knows, as yet, whether He has
granted this succour to a prince, so long the object of our affection,
and now of our tears. On this point, I am unable to form any opinion.
Still, without fear of committing myself, I can applaud what you have
hitherto done, and the measures you have taken. Your friend and mine, the
elder Carsten, who has remained pure amid the corruption, will tell you
more. He sees things closely, and being, perhaps, a little less affected
and touched than myself, he will represent to you more fully that of
which I can only afford you a glimpse, and which my mental emotion
prevents me from expressing more clearly. He will, above all, counsel
you to preserve your liberty in a country where the philosophic tone is
to preach licence in morals and despotism, in every case where it is
important for men not to depend on the will of another: and it is in this
sole hint that I sum up all the advice you have requested me to give you.
Go to Copenhagen, appear at court, but do not enter into engagements,
till you have reconnoitred the ground for yourself. If you can do good,
do not refuse to do it to a country that needs it, and may Heaven deign
to grant you the merit and glory of it. But, if you see that the means
are refused you, do no allow yourself to be drawn into any subaltern,
doubtful, and odious employment, directed by harsh and evil-doing
natures. Do not suffer your name to be associated with those of men,
about whom the nation is already weeping, and posterity will weep for a
long time.

"You see, my dear sir, that I brave the risks of the post, in order,
faithfully, to respond to the confidence with which you honour me, and
to carry out the duties of the friendship I have vowed to you. This
motive obliges me to add one word to my long letter. Among the number of
unfortunate men who believe themselves so happy now, because they have
the power and pleasure of rendering others wretched every day, you will
find two, who call themselves your friends: if they were ever worthy of
being so, it is not for me to decide; but what I can not and must not
conceal from you, is, that they are no longer so, and do not deserve to
bear the name:[160] you will recognise the truth of my remarks when you
see them.

"May my fears be unfounded, and be proved false by the result! But I
am afraid lest the answer you are expecting from the favourite may not
be such as you have the right to have; and that, falling back into his
usual character, he may impede rather than facilitate your return; I
impatiently long to hear that I am deceived.

"It will be pleasanter to me to see you again than I am able to express.
Grant me and mine this pleasure, and be assured that you have no warmer
friend or more faithful servant than myself, &c.

"At Grabow, near Borstel, June 9, 1771."

       *       *       *       *       *

Reverdil thought it advisable to accept all Bernstorff's prejudices
against the favourite. Some of the arrangements Struensee had made and
dictated, seemed to him useful and as announcing good intentions, but the
advice of the ex-minister was no less wise, and he resolved to follow
it. Hence, the sole conditions he made were, permission to return home
whenever he thought proper, and that the king should pay his travelling
expenses both ways.

Reverdil had finished about half his journey when he learned that
Struensee and Brandt had been created counts, and that the former had
been appointed cabinet minister, with unlimited power. Had he not gone so
far, he would have turned back. He was well acquainted with the king's
character: every favour the latter granted was a title to his hatred,
and he never failed to be jealous of the credit, dignities, and presents
which his favourites extorted from him. Moreover, as he advanced,
Reverdil met _en route_ better informed persons, who told him details of
the worst possible augury.

In the duchies, Reverdil heard a number of reports, some of which proved
to be true, but the thing that struck him most, was the horror which
the names of Struensee and Brandt inspired. Public hatred could not be
more excited or more universal. "They had transformed the court into a
poisonous cavern, and filled the provinces with disgraced and unhappy
men: nothing was safe from their sacrilegious hands, and, ere long, the
throne and the altar would succumb in their turn. They had overthrown a
negotiation from which the country expected its safety for future ages;
while under the pretext of reform they reduced thousands of families
to want, they squandered the fruit of these savings in profusion and
scandalous excesses. Not satisfied with displaying the most depraved
habits, they turned morality into derision, and sought to corrupt it.
Such horrible conduct brought down on the nation the chastisements of
Heaven. And by what means had they seized the power and ensured impunity?
By shamelessly dishonouring the king's bed, and introducing their vile
posterity in the place of the pure blood of Oldenburg. After dishonouring
the king, they held him besieged, and allowed no one to approach him,
save their minions, in order to degrade him, and keep honest men from his
familiarity. He was generally left alone with two boys, one a negro, and
the other picked up in the streets."

Some persons went further, and declared that their prince was
ill-treated, and that he was governed by terror; others, that his reason
was affected by drugs; the majority stated, however, that the absurd
report of his imbecility was spread with sinister views against his
person and the state.

At Schleswig, Reverdil had a private interview with the Princess Dowager
of Culmbach, sister of the Prince of Brunswick-Bevern, whose husband was
Christian's great-uncle. She spoke with grief of the king's wretched
state, which she stated to have grown much worse since the tour of 1767.
His remarks, she said, having no sense or coherence, produced the worst
idea of his usual society. This lady and the Prince of Hesse and his
court talked infinitely to Reverdil about the scandal produced in the
province by the bevy that followed the king. The queen travelling in a
man's dress, the impertinences of the favourites, their familiarity with
the king and queen, the ignoble air of the court, had caused them an
astonishment from which they had not yet recovered.

When Reverdil arrived at Hirschholm, the first person he saw was Brandt.
He told the new comer of the king's wretched mental condition; the
necessity he had, more than ever, of a constant companion, and the
honour he destined for Reverdil by giving him this office. He had had
some debates on this subject, he added, with Struensee, who had destined
Reverdil for office, but the latter must promise to drive out every day
with the king. Reverdil agreed to do so; but did not thank Brandt for
the post which he designed for him. The king and Brandt had long grown
weary of each other, and were continually quarrelling. Struensee felt the
necessity of separating them, and had given the king the choice of two
or three names: Reverdil was preferred, and that was the secret of his

Reverdil was presented to their Majesties in the circle, and invited
to dinner at their table. His reception was most flattering; the queen
spoke to him kindly, and the king addressed the ordinary remarks to
him, nothing revealing his malady. After dinner, the gentlemen on duty
introduced the new comer to a private audience with the king. The latter
referred to Reverdil's dismissal, and threw the blame on Holck, but
added, that the tutor had wearied him by urging him to gain the love of
his subjects; that, at that period, he did not wish to be beloved, &c.
With this exception, nothing in the conversation displayed his lunacy;
and it did not appear that he had been taught beforehand what to say.
This fact proves that public rumour was unjust to the favourites, for it
was generally believed that the king was guarded, and that no one reached
him without having been prepared, and making a promise what he would talk

On the next day after Reverdil's arrival, the king and he took the
promised drive with Brandt. Our authority gives a most sarcastic account
of Brandt's behaviour during the drive: how he occupied the entire back
of the carriage, with one of his elbows out of the window to announce
his presence to passers-by. The poor king was crouched up in a corner,
with a sad and constrained air, and appeared relieved when they returned
home. Reverdil felt the greatest pity for him, and, on the spot, accepted
Brandt's offer to leave him to drive out alone in future with the king.

Reverdil remained by himself in the royal apartments with the monarch.
His mania, which he concealed from some persons, and which even the
physicians in daily attendance on him had not yet noticed, began at
once to manifest itself. "You are Brandt," he said to his visitor; then,
breaking into a rapid and incoherent babble, he repeated some verses from
_Zaire_, in which tragedy he had acted with Reverdil four years before.
Then he said, "You are Denize; you are Latour;" two French actors who had
been in his service; and eventually addressed Reverdil by his right name.
These extravagances, or a profound silence, or questions about the signs
of a change which was incessantly about to take place in his person,
occupied nearly three-fourths of the tête-à-tête, during the four months
that Reverdil was almost solely with the king, either in his apartments,
or driving out, with no other suite but the postilion and a mounted

At times pride exalted the king; he had been greeted like a god by the
English nation; other kings were eclipsed; it was too much wit that had
turned his head. At other times the king was oppressed and melancholy:
after all that he had done; after braving everything: he would never be
more than a "little man;" that is to say, a weak and dependent man. He
often talked about killing, and asked Reverdil whether he might not do so
only once with impunity and without scandal, or whether, if he did so, he
would be hopelessly wretched. On other occasions he pretended to attack
his own life. "Shall I drown myself?" he would say; "shall I throw myself
out of window, or dash out my brains against the wall?" His object was
to alarm Reverdil, and by leaving him the choice, he soon forgot this
folly. Still it is true that he often desired death, but feared it at the
same time. One of the amusements was pulling in a two-oared boat on the
small lake round the palace, and the poor king often said to Reverdil,
with the most unhappy face in the world, "I should like to throw myself
into the lake and be pulled out again directly." His imagination only
found a refuge in a state of apathy, which was the object of his hopes
and desires. There were three marked shades in his madness, which he
indicated by three German expressions.[161] According to the stage of his
trouble, he often wound up his remarks by saying, with a groan, "I am
confused" (Ich bin confus); or else, "There is a noise in my head" (Es
rappelt bei mir); or, lastly, "I am quite beside myself" (Er ist ganz
übergeschnappt). At times, his muttered and confused remarks ended with
the words, "I can stand it no longer."

The king was evidently very unhappy; and honest Reverdil was equally
so. The latter usually passed an hour with Christian after the dinner;
and as he had been his reader, the king, at times, put a book in his
hand, not to listen to what he read, but that he might indulge in his
own melancholy reveries, and talk to himself in a low voice. The first
book Reverdil took up was a dictionary of celebrated men, marked at the
history of Rizzio, the lover of Mary Stuart, assassinated by Darnley,
her husband. If this was the trick of a valet, it failed in its effect,
for the king never listened. Besides, the king had not the slightest
tendency to jealousy, for he spoke twice to Reverdil about a thing which
would have aroused that feeling in any other husband. Once he said
that Struensee was the queen's Cicisbeo; on another occasion, he asked
his visitor whether he believed that the King of Prussia slept with
Queen Matilda. "Why, who is the King of Prussia?" Reverdil asked. "Oh!
Struensee." This way of designating the favourite proved, at any rate,
what power the latter possessed over the weak-minded monarch.

The details which Reverdil gives us about the habits of the court are
very curious. When they did not go hunting, they assembled to breakfast
between eleven and twelve o'clock. The king, the queen, Counts Struensee
and Brandt, with some of their male and female favourites, were always
present; and when the state of the weather allowed it, breakfast was
followed by a walk, in which Struensee gave his arm to the queen; the
king, to the only maid-of-honour who was admitted to this familiarity;
each of the other gentlemen to a lady; and chance did not decide the
selection. From time to time, the same party dined at some summer-house,
a distance away. Etiquette was banished from these parties; and the
newly-appointed pages waited at table. They only entered when a bell
was rung, and left the room when they had done what was wanted. On these
excursions, the queen drove out in the same carriage with the king and
Struensee. She placed herself between them at table; and if the king
misbehaved himself, Reverdil led him out of the room. The queen even
returned at night alone with the favourite. This princess, who, on her
arrival from England, had been extremely affable and ingenious in finding
occasions to say agreeable things to everybody, now only spoke with
eagerness to the favourite; and if before and after dinner she addressed
any one, whether male or female, Struensee was listening.

With this exception, the indecent tone supposed by the public did not
prevail in this company; they resembled the servants of a large house who
had sat down to table in their master's absence. A new comer must have
been struck by the familiar tone, and at seeing a court where there were
no great noblemen, and hardly any gentlemen.

Reverdil was astonished at not hearing a word about the queen dowager
and her son, who lived at Fredensborg, about nine miles from Hirschholm.
There seemed a settled determination to keep Prince Frederick apart
from his brother; no appanage was granted him, though it was full time
to think about it, nor was he initiated into affairs of state. Reverdil
resolved to do what he could to satisfy the queen dowager by inducing the
king to drive over and see her; but the latter would not consent. Hence
the estrangement came from Christian, and not from the queen dowager.

We have seen how Prince Frederick was kept out of the king's box at the
play; and Brandt was blamed for it, although it was done by the monarch's
express order. Equal anger was felt because Brandt did not invite the
prince to the private theatricals and dancing which filled up a portion
of the evenings at Hirschholm. For this, so Reverdil says, Struensee was
mainly to blame. He had seen at London and Berlin the princes paying
their court to the king, and mixing themselves up with the grandees
in the ante-chamber. On his return, he was shocked by the old Danish
fashion, by which the courtiers did not come to the king's ante-room till
they had paid their respects to the royal princes and princesses, who
were thus placed on a level with the sovereign. He therefore resolved to
make Prince Frederick undergo these humiliations until he had learned his

It required a great occasion for the queen dowager and her son to be
invited, at lengthened intervals, to dine at Hirschholm. When they
arrived, they were kept waiting; and the frigid reception granted them
left them but little doubt that their presence was disagreeable. They
were not angry with the king, and did not explain this contempt by his
caprices or his indolent apathy, but they blamed the young queen and her
adherents. Hence serious aid frivolous subjects combined to foment the
misunderstanding in the royal family and between relations. The lightest
insults are not those which hurt the least.

Serious complaints were being raised about this time at the court of the
queen dowager, in the capital and the provinces, about the education of
the prince royal, or rather, because his education was not yet begun.
He was said to be left in the gardens of Hirschholm to the inclemency
of the seasons and his own imprudence, with no other society but that
of two lads of the lowest rank. The most reasonable and the warmest
patriots said bitterly, that a retarded education was a great fault in
the case of a boy whose majority began at the age of thirteen; as if the
natural progress of a boy could be accelerated in accordance with human

Such were the universal prejudice, and the language of the most moderate
men. At the court, on the contrary, they were so satisfied with the
method adopted, that the queen and Struensee actually had drawings made
of the childish amusements of their young Emile, which were engraved and
published. He could be seen in them entering his cold bath, playing at
ball, or using his little rake and spade. They fancied that the entire
universe would applaud this unique example of a truly royal education.

The queen might be mistaken as to her son's education, as it was carried
on by a man of systems, but she was an excellent mother, and paid as much
attention to her children as her position allowed. When on any rainy
day the court was obliged to remain in-doors, the queen did not fail
to appear after dessert, carrying her daughter on one of her arms, and
leading her son by the other hand, while his two little playmates clung
to her skirt. She seemed thoroughly to enjoy the happiness of being a
mother. The prince was neither timid, nor indocile, nor fretful; but his
education was very much behindhand. At the age of nearly four years,
he did not yet know any language, but had made a jargon of Danish and
German, which he had learned from his two playmates. The conclusion at
which Reverdil arrives, though displaying an evident bias, is probably

"If the temperature had been less damp; if the young prince had had
a sufficiently strong constitution to withstand these trials; if an
intelligent and almost imperceptible but continued inspection had caused
his amusements to help in developing his reason, this education would
have been worth more than that of all his ancestors."

But this inspection was not made, owing to the jealousy of Struensee, who
considered everything badly done that did not pass through his hands, and
who had undertaken this inspection himself, like all the rest, without
reflecting that he already had a great deal more work than he could do in
the course of the day.


[Footnote 149: Peut-être lui donna-t-on des choses fortifiantes pour
restaurer sa faiblesse, et qui eurent l'effet de lier les facultés de son
esprit, sans les lui ôter tout-à-fait.--_Mémoires de mon Temps_, p. 56.]

[Footnote 150: This Berger was a surgeon-accoucheur, and favourite of
Struensee. He must not be confounded with Etats-rath von Berger, the
physician in ordinary, who had retired from court.]

[Footnote 151: "Authentische Aufklärungen."]

[Footnote 152: She was the mother of Christian Augustus, Duke of
Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg Augustenburg, who was deprived of his
rights by the London treaty of 1852; of Prince Frederick of Noër; and of
the Dowager Queen Amelia, widow of Christian VIII., King of Denmark.]

[Footnote 153: "Annual Register, 1771."]

[Footnote 154: This law, drawn up by the unfortunate Griffenfeldt, and
signed on November 14, 1665, by Frederick III., the first absolute king
of Denmark and Sweden, but not published till after his death in 1709,
raises the king above the law, and makes him responsible to God alone
for his actions as regent. The only condition imposed on him was, that
he should belong to the Protestant religion, according to the Augsburg
Confession. The _Lex Regia_ remained in force till June 5, 1849, the day
on which the late King of Denmark, Frederick VII., signed the democratic
constitution of Denmark.]

[Footnote 155: Struensee, the liberal reformer, who made the nobility
feel his sarcasm on every occasion, was yet weak enough to have this
absurdity painted on his coach panels, to dress his servants in red and
white liveries, and to have his coat of arms fastened on their caps.
When his valet appeared for the first time in this livery--so La Mothe,
the queen's chamber-woman, tells us--he stumbled on the palace stairs,
his cap fell off his head and broke the badge, and the blood that flowed
from his nose thoroughly ruined the new livery. On Struensee being told
of this, he only gave his ordinary answer when anything disagreeable to
him happened "As God pleases." On this occasion, though, it may have
contained a deeper meaning.]

[Footnote 156: After Struensee's downfall, this system was introduced
again under the title of the Commission of Inquisition. It was finally
abolished, together with running the gauntlet in the army, by Frederick

[Footnote 157: The clergy protested against the marriage of
cousins-german being allowed, although the king had given the example of
such an alliance, and a dispensation had always hitherto been granted.
Nothing can be urged, however, in favour of Struensee's permission for a
man to marry his wife's niece, or even sister.]

[Footnote 158: This charge against Struensee can hardly be repeated too
often. The breach between Dane and German, which produced such a terrible
catastrophe in his case, has never since been healed, and it is in great
measure owing to thin jealousy, that the inhabitants of the duchies have
had cause to complain of their treatment by the triumphant, and, I fear,
dictatorial, minority.]

[Footnote 159: Bernstorff mentioned this fact to Reverdil on the very
day before his death, and Rantzau said to the Swiss, shortly after the
negociation had been broken off, "Bernstorff would be here now if he
could have trusted to me."] [Footnote 161: The king most frequently
spoke German to Reverdil, which was the court language at the time,
though formerly he had piqued himself on addressing everybody in his own
language, and had always spoken to Reverdil in French, rarely in Danish,
and never in German.]

[Footnote 160: Brandt and Rantzau.]

[Footnote 161: The king most frequently spoke German to Reverdil, which
was the court language at the time, though formerly he had piqued himself
on addressing everybody in his own language, and had always spoken to
Reverdil in French, rarely in Danish, and never in German.]





    Academicians, of Paris, dine with King Christian, 180.

    Administration, retrenchment in the, 329.

    Administrative changes in Denmark, 318.

    Adultery, punishment for, mitigated, 326.

    Agricultural Commission, appointed by Christian VII., 7.

    Agnate and cognate, the different lines of succession explained,
      50, 51.

    Algiers, Danish war with, and naval expedition against, 260, 261, 262.

    Altona, Caroline Matilda's enthusiastic reception at, 47, 48.

    Anne, Queen, governed by her favourite women, 4, _note_.

    Aristocracy, murders committed by the, 12.

    Arnould, Sophie, the celebrated _prima donna_ of Paris, 179.

    Arts and sciences become an object of attention to Struensee, 332.

    Augusta, Princess of Brunswick;
      her marriage, 39.

    Augusta, Princess of Wales, (see Wales, Princess of).

    Augustenburg, duke of, his genealogy and family connexions, 75.

    Auteroche, Comte de, anecdotes of, 174.


    Baltimore, Lord, his vicious eccentricities, 9.

    Beauveau, Madame de, 169.

    Berger, von, surgeon, accoucheur, and favourite of Struensee, 346.

    Berkentin, Frau von, appointed governor of Prince Christian, 50;
      dismissed from the Danish Court, 117.

    Bernis, cardinal, 172.

    Bernstorff, count, the Danish minister, 75, 76;
      court triumvirate formed by, 77;
      appointed director of the Sound dues, 81;
      his influence, 111;
      his servility, 115;
      declines in favour, 229;
      his dismissal, 268;
      his character, 269;
      his kindness, 303;
      anecdote of, 362;
      his advice to Count Reverdil, 365.

    Bestucheff, Madame, 303.

    Binet, Sieur, 166.

    Bishop militant, 24.

    Bontemps, the fortune-teller, 173.

    Brockdorf, nurse to Prince Christian of Denmark, 55.

    Brandenburg Kulmbach, dowager Margravine of, 127.

    Brandt, Enevold, page of the chamber, and a court favourite, 121;
      biographical notices of, _ib._;
      his character, 122;
      his charges against Count Holck, 122, 124;
      his visit to Paris to see the king, 210;
      his promotion, 231;
      his policy, 285;
      court festivities arranged by, 342, 343;
      his beloved Frau von Holstein, 344;
      made a Danish count, 352;
      public hatred of, 370.

    Bülow, von, 230.

    Bute, lord, his influence over the Princess of Wales, 15;
      his frequent visits to Leicester House, and scandals about him, 27,
      28, 31.


    Cabal, the, 252.

    Cagliostro, the charlatan, 173.

    CAROLINE MATILDA, Princess; birth of, 15;
      account of her youth, 33;
      her vivaciousness and sweetness of temper, 34;
      her manners and person, 35;
      her education, _ib._;
      her character, 35, 36;
      her correspondence, 37-43;
      proposal of marriage on behalf of, 40;
      her feelings, 41;
      makes her public appearance at Court, _ib._;
      her letter to the Princess Mary of Cassel, 42;
      public opinion favourable to her marriage, 43;
      message from the crown for a grant upon the occasion of her
        marriage, 44;
      her marriage solemnized at the Chapel Royal of St. James', _ib._;
      her departure for Copenhagen, 45;
      her anxious feelings, 45, 46;
      her letter to her brother, the Duke of York, 45;
      her enthusiastic reception at Altona, 47;
      loyal addresses to, 48;
      her youth and inexperience, 48, 49;
      her arrival at Copenhagen, 81;
      her marriage, 84;
      her warm reception, 85;
      warnings respecting her 86, 87;
      her household, 88;
      feelings of the royal family of Denmark towards, 88, 89;
      various festivals and amusements in honour of, 90;
      her own account of the journey to Copenhagen, written to her
        brother, the Duke of York, 92 _et seq._;
      her description of Holstein and Copenhagen, 94, 96;
      her coronation, 98;
      her first quarrel, 99;
      her letter to her brother previous to his death, 101;
      letter to her mother, the Princess Dowager of Wales, 102;
      insulted by her husband, 103, 104;
      gives birth to a son and heir, Frederick VI., 108;
      her ladies and maids of honour, 126;
      her life at home during her husband's absence, 159 _et seq._;
      her letter to Princess Amelia, respecting her husband's dissolute
       life, 161;
      her letter to Princess Mary of Hesse Cassel, 196;
      visit of her brother, the Duke of Gloucester, 198;
      greatly humiliated by the insignificant part she played at court,
      her acquaintance with Dr. Struensee, 215 _et seq._;
      her familiarities with him create suspicion, 226, 227;
      accompanies her husband in his journey to Schleswig and Holstein,
      her incautious levity, 232;
      interview with her mother, the Dowager Princess of Wales, 248, 249;
      coldness of, towards her brother, George III., 249, 250;
      her favourite residence, the palace of Frederiksborg, 250, 251;
      her free and easy manners and masculine dress give offence, 264;
      her fondness for hunting, 282, 283;
      her costume and personal improvement, 283;
      her beautiful appearance described in the recollections of an old
       chamberlain, 284;
      mad freaks of her husband, 291, 292;
      her dissipated habits, 292, 293;
      establishes the Order of Matilda, 314;
      gives birth to a princess, 345;
      her close intimacy with Struensee, 377;
      an affectionate mother but neglectful of her son's education, 380.

    Casanova, the cabalist, 173.

    Cassel, Princess Mary of, Caroline Matilda's letter to, 42.

    Castries, Mary, de, anecdote of, 174.

    Catherine II., Empress of Russia, 238, 301, 302.

    Chanceries, subjected to reorganization, 325.

    Charles, Landgrave of Schleswig, 230, 231;
      his account of the queen's levity of conduct, 232, 233.

    Charles, Prince of, Denmark, 74, 75.

    Charles II. of England, governed by his mistresses, 4, _note_.

    Charlotte Amelia, Princess of Denmark, her character, 89;
      the benefactress of the poor, 345.

    Chartres, Duchesse de, her profligacy, 171.

    Chassé, the comedian, 172.

    Chateauroux, Duchesse de, 163.

    Choiseul, duc de, 176.

    Christian V., King of Denmark, 254.

    CHRISTIAN VII. of Denmark, his proposed marriage with the Princess
        Caroline Matilda of England, 40;
      his accession to the throne on the death of Frederick V., 43;
      married by proxy to Caroline Matilda, 44;
      biographical notice of, 50;
      his hereditary claims to the Schleswig Holstein duchies, 50, 51;
      suspected plots against his life, 55;
      his education, 56 _et seq._;
      his sarcasms, 58;
      Reverdil's account of him when twelve years old, 61 _et seq._;
      his progress in the polite arts, 64;
      proclaimed King of Denmark, 69;
      his religious notions, 72;
      court anecdotes of, 73, 74;
      under the influence of a triumvirate, 77;
      pleasant anecdote of, 79;
      marriage of his two sisters, 81;
      his marriage in contemplation, 82;
      affianced to Princess Caroline Matilda, _ib._;
      sees her for the first time at Roeskilde, 83;
      traits of his character and person, 84;
      his entry with the princess into Copenhagen, 84;
      their marriage and festivities, 84, 85;
      various festivals and amusements introduced by, 90;
      his coronation, 98;
      his first quarrel, 99;
      his journey to Holstein, 100;
      insults his wife on his return, 103;
      his dissolute orgies, 104, 105;
      birth of his son and heir, Frederick VI., 108;
      appoints a general commission for agricultural improvements, 111;
      his debaucheries and dissipated career, 112;
      his domestic orgies, 113;
      list of his ministry, 114;
      his court favourites, 121 _et seq._;
      his travels in foreign parts, 126 _et seq._;
      his journey through Jütland, Schleswig, and Gottorp, 127;
      his presents to Voltaire, who sang the praises of his benefactor,
      his visit to Hanau and his brother-in-law, Landgrave Charles, 132;
      sails down the Rhine, _ib._;
      visits Amsterdam, the Hague, and Brussels, 133;
      his arrival in England, _ib._;
      his visit not agreeable to George III. 134;
      his cold reception, 135 _et seq._;
      list of the royal suite, 136;
      his stay in London, 137;
      Walpole's satirical sketches of his visit and its amusements,
        137 _et seq._;
      his interview with the Princess Dowager, 139;
      his journey to Yorkshire, 142;
      his visits to Cambridge, and also to Oxford,
        where he received the honorary degree of D.C.L., 143;
      magnificently entertained by the City of London, 144, 148;
      entertained at Richmond Lodge, Carlton House, &c., 148, 149;
      his sarcasm against the Princess Dowager, 149;
      gives a grand masked ball at the Opera House, 149, 150;
      his departure from England, 151;
      execrable verses on, _ib._;
      sketches of his private life and character, 152-158;
      his adventure with the money lender, 154-6;
      Walpole's character of him, 157;
      his wife's letter respecting him, 161;
      his journey to France, and arrival at Paris, 175;
      his reception by Louis XV., 175;
      his private interview with him, 177;
      his reception at Paris, and his visits to the various institutions,
        178 _et seq._;
      dines with the Academicians, 180;
      his high opinion of Paris, 182;
      his munificence, 183;
      his return home, 185;
      his joyous reception, 187;
      the members of his ministry, 188;
      distressed state of the country on his return, 191;
      his trip to Schleswig and Holstein with the queen, 228;
      dismisses his court, 235;
      state of his court, 240-2;
      state reforms effected by his minister, 270 _et seq._,
        (_see_ DENMARK);
      his madness and hopeless condition, 290, 291;
      his freaks of madness, 291, 292;
      suppresses his council by public decree, 305;
      becomes absolute, 307;
      celebration of his birthday, 314;
      his administrative changes and reforms, 318 _et seq._;
      appoints Struensee privy cabinet minister, with all the power of
        grand vizier, 347, 350;
      his insanity clearly manifested, 374, 375.

    Christiansborg, palace of, 311.

    Chudleigh, Miss, at the fancy ball, 31.

    Civic council of Copenhagen, reorganization of the, 325.

    Condé, prince de, 181.

    Conti, prince de, 172.

    Copenhagen, institutions and laws of extensively reformed, 325
        _et seq._;
      "Court and Town Council" of established, 327. (See DENMARK, and

    Council of Conferences, established after the suppression of the
        Privy Council, 307.

    Court of Denmark, state of the, 240-2;
      changes and reductions in the, 327, 328;
      amusements of the, 84, 85;
      intrigues connected with the, 29, 77, 80, 122 _et seq._, 363, 364.

    Court language of Denmark, 309.

    Court reforms in Denmark, 277.

    Cresset, the favourite of the Princess Augusta, 20;
      anecdote of, 22.

    Cumberland, duke, anecdote of, 16.


    Dames de la Halle, 183.

    Damiens, execution of, 173.

    Danish language, complaints against the disuse of, 359, 360.

    Danneskjold Samsöe, count, 75;
      his genealogy, 75, _note_;
      his court intrigues and influence, 76;
      his dismissal, 109.

    Danneskjold Laurvig, count von, the Danish minister, 188;
      his high character, 190;
      his daughter married to Count Holck, 198.
      ---- admiral, dismissed, 271.

    Dehn, baron von, 47.

    DENMARK, Caroline Matilda's journey to, 47;
      court of, 50;
      the royal family of, and right of succession to the throne, 51;
      possession of Schleswig-Holstein vital importance to, 51, 52,
      government of, under Frederick V., 68;
      subsidies paid to, 68;
      ruinous condition of, 69;
      names of the royal family of, 78;
      and their feelings towards Caroline Matilda, 88, 89;
      various festivals and amusements introduced into, 90;
      enactment for the punishment of fanatics and murderers, 107;
      protection extended to the Society of Arts at Copenhagen, _ib._;
      composition of the ministry, 114;
      heavy debts of, when Christian VII. ascended the throne, 127;
      state of the kingdom, 128, 129;
      the members of the ministry, 188;
      public discontent, 190;
      depressed state of, 193;
      existence of serfdom in, 193;
      changes at court, 195;
      state of the court, 240-2;
      general anarchy of the kingdom, 243;
      state of, under Struensee, 253;
      historical retrospect of, 254 _et seq._;
      the _Lex Regia_, _ib._;
      foreigners in, 254;
      titles and honours bestowed, 256, 257;
      useless expenses incurred, 257, 258;
      her increasing debt, 258;
      war with Algiers, 260, 261;
      her naval expedition against Algiers, 261;
      abolition of the censorship, 262;
      great changes and proposed reforms, 270, 271;
      her foreign affairs, 273;
      Russian alliance with, 273;
      her home affairs, 274;
      collection of the taxes, 275;
      court reforms, 277;
      public morals, 278;
      the council of state reorganised, 279;
      changes in the privy council, 281;
      levity of the court, 285;
      bad harvest in, 294;
      visit of the princes of Sweden to, _ib._;
      letter of the government to the Empress of Russia, 297;
      reorganisation of the privy council, 304;
      council suppressed by royal decree, 305;
      council of conferences established, 307;
      the king becomes absolute, _ib._;
      reforms in, 308;
      freedom of the press, _ib._;
      the court language of, 309;
      great reforms in every department of the state, 324 _et seq._;
      state debts of, 330;
      negotiations with Russia, 340;
      Struensee's absolute power, 348, 353;
      dissatisfaction with the government measures., 348, 359;
      her foreign relations, 357.

    Desnoyers, the French dancing master, 1.

    Divorces, number of, in George the Third's reign, 11.

    Dorchester, lady, ex-mistress of George II., anecdote of, 8.

    Dorset, Sackville, duke of, 192.

    Dubarry, Madame, the mistress of Louis XV., 168, 169.

    Dubois, cardinal, 172.

    Duras, duc de, presents to the, 183.

    Düring, Major, 120.

    Durfort, duc de, 171.


    Edwin, Lady Charlotte, 17.

    Eighteenth century, habits and manners of the, 7-9;
      excessive gambling of the, 9;
      vices of the, 10 _et seq._

    English, poetical sketch of the, 186.

    Ennui, arises from etiquette, 218.

    Etioles, Madame de, 166;
      afterwards Madame Pompadour, 167.

    Executions, for robbery and murder in the 18th century, 12.

    Eyben, Fräulein von, 88.


    Fair Amazon, the, 165.

    Falckenskjold, Seneca Otho von, biographical notices of, 320;
      employed by Struensee in diplomatic matters with Russia, 321
        _et seq._

    Filosofow, major-general, chevalier, the Russian diplomatist,
        insults Struensee, 221;
      intrigues of, 244, 245;
      appointed minister plenipotentiary of Russia, 253.

    Finances, college of, 330;
      deputies appointed to, 331.

    Flavecourt, Madame de, 178;
      valuable present to, 184.

    Flaxboom, curious mistake in the translation of, 310.

    Foreign affairs of Denmark, 273.

    Foundling Hospital, established by Struensee, 295.

    France, wretched state of, in 1745, 163;
      the degraded noblesse of, 163, 164;
      all the signs of an impending revolution manifested under Louis
        XV., 167;
      destruction of the ancien regime, 168;
      matrimony entirely disregarded in, 171;
      universal libertinism in, 171 _et seq._;
      prevalence of superstition in, 173;
      chivalry of, 174.

    Frederick, crown prince of Denmark, his refractory temper, 286;
      his course of education, 287 _et seq._;
      at court, 378.

    Frederick, Prince of Wales (_see_ WALES, prince of).

    Frederick III. of Germany, 254.

    Frederick V. of Denmark, surnamed "the Good," 52;
      anecdote of, _ib. note_;
      inconsolable at the loss of his wife, 52, 53;
      married to the Princess Juliana Maria of Wolfenbüttel, 53;
      his illness, 65;
      his death, 43, 66;
      sorrow caused thereby, 67;
      his government, 68.

    Frederick VI. of Denmark, birth of, 108.

    Frederiks_berg_ and Frederiks_borg_, the distinction between,
        311, 312.

    Frederiksborg, palace of, 250, 251.

    Frederikson, the money lender, 154;
      King Christian's adventure with, 155.

    Funerals, expenses of, curtailed, 326.


    Gabel, Frau von, her acquaintance with Dr. Struensee, and intrigues
        with the king, 216.

    Gähler, General von, wife of, 222;
      the enemy of Struensee, 363.

    Gambier, Admiral, 151.

    Gambling of the eighteenth century, 9.

    Gardes du corps, 336.

    Garrick's interview with King Christian, 150.

    George I., his mistresses, 8;
      coarseness of manners introduced by, _ib._

    George I. and II., their family life one long offence against
        propriety, 8;
      the feeling of hatred betwixt them, _ib._

    George II., his detestation of his son, 3;
      his character, 3, 4;
      lampoon on, 4, _note_;
      his unforgiving spirit, 4.

    George, Prince of Wales (afterwards George III.), 14;
      anecdotes of his early life, 16 _et seq._;
      his governors and tutors, 20 (_see_ George III.).

    George III., his first speech after ascending the throne, 3;
      vices of his reign, 10;
      character of, 25;
      anecdotes of, 26;
      his speech respecting the marriage of Caroline Matilda, 40;
      his dislike to Christian VII., 134;
      his cold reception of him, 135 _et seq._;
      Walpole's sarcastic account of the meeting, 137, 138;
      treated with coldness by his sister Caroline Matilda, 249;
      his feelings and impressions respecting his sister's conduct, 250.

    German, the language of Denmark, 209;
      Struensee's use and abuse of, _ib._

    Gesvres, duc de, 172.

    Gleichen, von, the Danish envoy to France, 68, 176.

    Gloucester, duke of, juvenile anecdotes of, 16.

    Gottorp, von, raised to the rank of count, 129.

    Government, mode of, by different sovereigns, 4, _note._

    Grafton, duke of, and Nancy Parsons, 11.


    Hanoverian dynasty, 7;
      coarseness of manners introduced by the, 8.

    Harcourt, lord, his resignation as governor to Prince George, 18, 19;
      anecdotes of, 20.

    Hay, lord Charles, anecdote of, 174.

    Hayter, bishop, 20.

    Hell-fire club, blasphemous travesties of the, 9.

    Hesse, Prince Charles of, 81;
      biographical notices of, 81, _note_.

    Hesse Cassel, Princess Mary of, Caroline Matilda's letter to, 196.

    Hirschholm, palace of, presented to Count Moltke, 57;
      the most magnificent of all the royal residences, 265-7;
      royal hunt at, 282.

    Hjorth, a royal runner, 103.

    Holck, Conrad von, Count, 100;
      the courtier, 104;
      his insolence towards the young queen, 104;
      appointed court marshal, 105;
      his influence, 109;
      invested with the Star of the Dannebrog order, 117;
      his marriage, 120;
      charges against, 123;
      appointed grand maître de la garderobe et des plaisirs, 191;
      his offer of marriage refused by Lady Bel Stanhope, 192;
      his boundless extravagance, 194;
      his second marriage, 198;
      his impertinent assumption, 199;
      his intrigues, 227;
      his dismissal, 235.

    Holderness, lord, secretary of state, 21.

    Holidays, abolition of superfluous ones, 281.

    Holm, von, dismissed, 318.

    Holstein, Russians claims to, 130;
      its maritime importance, _ib._

    Holstein, count, his appointment, 325.

    Holstein Gottorp, Charles Frederick
    sovereign duke of, 129;
      house of, a formidable power, _ib._

    Horace, prince of Scandalia, 32.

    Horse races, established by Von Warnstedt, 285.

    Hunting, the queen's fondness for, 282;
      incident recorded in, 289.

    Hotel de Ville, of Paris, grand ball at, 166.


    Intrigues at the court of Denmark, 29, 77, 80, 122 _et seq._, 363, 364.


    James II. governed by his priests, 6, _note_.

    Juliana Maria, of Denmark, her secret dislike to Caroline Matilda, 89;
      her retired life, 160;
      her intrigues, 161;
      Princess, Caroline Matilda's character of her, 197;
      retires to Fredensborg, 345;

    Jütland, oppressed state of, 193.


    Keith, Sir R. Murray, his memoirs and correspondence, 47, _note_.

    Kirchoff, John, valet of the Danish king, 71, 72.

    Köppern, von, his dismissal, 317.


    Lackeydom, abolition of, 310.

    Law courts, number of abolished, 227;
      ameliorations in, 324.

    Leczinska, Maria, 163.

    Legge, his court intrigues, 28, 29, 30.

    Lex Regia, of Denmark, 254, 350 _et note_, 351.

    Litterateurs, in Denmark, 308.

    London, city of, entertains King Christian, of Denmark, 114-8;
      remarkable bill of fare, 146, 147.

    Lottery, establishment of the, 313.

    Louis XV., of France, 163;
      his voluptuous court, 165, 166;
      influenced by Madame Pompadour, 167;
      his debaucheries and low propensities, 168 _et seq._;
      his interview with King Christian, 177;
      his expensive visits to the Théâtre Français, 179.

    Louisa, Queen of Denmark, her goodness and beauty, 52;
      her death, _ib._

    Louisa, Princess of Denmark, 89, 90.

    Louisa Augusta, Princess, birth and christening of, 346;
      mother of Christian Augustus, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg
        Augustenburg and other royal personages, 346 _note_.

    Lühe, Frau von der, the queen's lady in waiting, dismissed, 235.

    Luxembourg, Maréchal de, 171.


    Marble church, the, 328.

    Masquerades first given at the Danish court, 90.

    Matilda, order of, established, 314, 315;
      members on whom the order was conferred, 316.

    Matrimony, ridiculed in the eighteenth century, 10.

    Melcombe, lord, 4;
      his feelings towards Frederick Prince of Wales, 5;
      his anecdotes of Augusta Princess of Wales and the royal family, 16
        _et seq._

    "Memoirs of an Unfortunate Queen," authenticity of the work, 34.

    Moltke, count, of Denmark, 54, 57;
      sarcasm on, 58;
      his arbitrary rule, 66;
      court triumvirate formed by, 77;
      his dismissal, 80;
      his death, 317.

    Monaco, prince de, 178.

    Monaldeschi, executed, 178.

    Münter, the German preacher, his sermon against the royal amusements,
        91, 92.

    Murders, by the aristocracy, 12.

    Murray, solicitor-general, 20.


    Navy, reforms in the administration of the, 320.

    Nevers, duchesse de, 178.

    Nielson, instructor of Prince Christian of Denmark, 58, 59.

    No-Popery, riots of 1780, 12.

    North, lord, anecdote of, 11.

    "Northern Courts," by T. Brown, its secret history of Sweden and
        Denmark, 53, 54, 55 _note_.

    Norwegians, discontent of the, 190.


    Oginsky, count, 302.

    Oldenburg, count Christian of, elected Prince of Schleswig-Holstein,

    Opera House, grand masked ball at the, 149, 150.

    Orkney, lady, ex-mistress of William III., 8.

    Orléans, duc de, 175, 176.

    Osten, count von der, appointed to the Foreign Office, 299;
      his birth and chequered fortunes, 299 _et seq._

    Oxford University confers the honorary degree of D.C.L. on King
        Christian and many of his suite, 143.


    Parc aux Cerfs, at Paris, 168, 170.

    Paris, city ball at the Hotel de Ville, 163, 164;
      immorality of, 164.

    Parsons, Nancy, 11.

    Père d'Orleans' "Révolutions d'Angleterre," 21, 24.

    Peterborough, Dr. T., bishop of, preceptor to the Prince of Wales, 24.

    Plessen, Frau von, her influence, 85, 88, 89;
      her removal and dismissal, 116, 117.

    Poisson, Mademoiselle, 166;
      afterwards Madame Pompadour, 167.

    Police of Copenhagen, reorganized, 326.

    Polish election, 302.

    Pompadour, Madame, 167;
      her power over the king, and despotic rule, 167, 168;
      spread of her evil example through France, 168.

    Poniatowski, biographical notices of, 301.

    Pope, Alex., Prince of Wales's visit to, 5.

    Popelinière, M., the pretty wife of, 173.

    Portsmouth, duchess of, ex-mistress of Charles II., 8.

    Press, freedom of the, in Denmark, 308.

    Prince Royal of Denmark, his education neglected, 379.

    Princess, birth of a, 346. (See LOUISA AUGUSTA.)

    Privy Council suppressed, and the ministers dismissed, 307.

    Provisions, scarcity of in Denmark, 294.


    Rake-hell, 12;
      verses on the word, 13, _note_.

    Rantzau-Ascheberg, count von, biographical notices of, 114, 115, 235
        _et seq._;
      his libertine habits, 236, 237;
      Mr. Wraxall's remarks on his infamous character, 238, _note_;
      introduced to the king and queen, 239;
      entertained at court, 240;
      colours presented by the queen to the regiment commanded by him, 245;
      his appointments, 252;
      his factious advice, 322, 323;
      his dislike to Struensee, 361, 362;
      his heavy debts, _ib._;
      his intrigues against Struensee, 362, 363.

    "Recollections of an Old Chamberlain," a novel, describes the
        appearance of Caroline Matilda, 284.

    Reventlow, count, tutor of Prince Christian, 56;
      his severity as a taskmaster, 57, 62;
      his administration, 70;
      grand chamberlain,
      anecdotes of, 73 _et seq._;
      court triumvirate formed by, 73;
      at the head of the malcontents, 91;
      his dismissal, 111;
      his death, 307, _note_.

    Reverdil, von, tutor of Prince Christian, 60;
      his account of Prince Christian when twelve years of age, 61;
      his manly reproof, as minister, of the dissolute Count Holck, 104;
      ordered to leave Constantinople, 105;
      invited to resume office, 6, 365;
      Count Bernstorff's letter, to, _ib._, his journey, 370;
      his introduction to court, and his interview with Christian,
        372, 373;
      his details about the king and the habits of the court, 374
        _et seq._

    Robbers of the eighteenth century, 12.

    Roeskilde, in Denmark, meeting of Christian VII. and Caroline Matilda
        at, 83.

    Roman-Coupier, Mademoiselle, 168.

    Rosenkranz, privy councillor von, appointed minister of war, 77;
      his dismissal 80; his death, 307, _note_.

    Rothe Thyge, of the College of Finances, 331.

    Royal Family of Denmark, 90;
      their amusements, 90, 91.

    Royal hunt at Hirschholm, 282.

    Royal quarrel, 293.

    Royal successions, remarks on, 51.

    Russia, her influence, 115;
      her bullying spirit, 244;
      alliance with Denmark, 273;
      letter from the Danish government to the empress, 297;
      cavalier treatment of the Danish minister, 298;
      quarrel with, 322;
      negociations with, 339;
      rumours of war with, 340, 341.


    St. Germain, count, manufacturer of the elixir of life, 173;
      president of the war ministry, 77;
      biographical notices of, 77, _note_;
      his dismissal, 110;
      his excellent reforms in the army, 275.

    Saldern, Herr von, 115;
      his letter against Count Rantzau, _ib._;
      takes his leave, 117;
      his career and character, 118.

    Schack opposes the reform of the privy council, and is dismissed, 304.

    Schimmelmann, baron von, 113;
      biographical notices of, 119.

    Schleswig-Holstein, hereditary claims of the royal family of Denmark,
      historical notices, 51 _et seq._;
      Count Christian of Oldenburg elected, 51;
      decided that the duchies "should remain eternally undivided and
        together," _ib._;
      rule of succession, _ib._;
      its possession of vital importance to Denmark, 51, 52, _note_.

    Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg Augustenburg, duke of, his descent, 316,

    Schrödersee, von, dismissed, 318.

    Schumacher, his government of Denmark, 254;
      the cabinet secretary, 364.

    Scott, Mr., tutor to the Prince of Wales, 19, 20.

    Seckendorf, baron von, his letter to Mr. W. N. Wraxall, 34, _note_.

    Serfdom, existence of in Denmark, 193.

    Serfs, emancipation of the, 367.

    Sesquier, advocate-general, 181.

    Sèvres, King Christian's visit to, 179.

    Shauenburg race, expiration of the, 51.

    "Sharp examination" of prisoners abolished, 356.

    Schleswig, royal visit to, 230.

    Small pox, its ravages in Zeeland, 223.

    Smith, Mrs. Gillespie, 46.

    Söhlenthal, baron von, 121.

    Sophia Magdalena, Queen of Denmark, 74;
      her influence over public affairs, 78, 79;
      her feelings towards Caroline Matilda, 88, 89;
      her death, 228.

    Sperling, von, equerry of Christian VII., 71;
      appointed bailliff of Hütten, 111;
      his vicious character, 115.

    Stanhope, Lady Bel, refuses the offer of Count Holck, 192.

    Stiefelett-Kathrine, mistress of Christian VII., 103, 104;
      her shameful career, 113;
      arrested and sent to prison, _ib._

    Stockfleth, Fräulein von, married to Count Holck, 120.

    Stone, Mr., sub-governor to Prince George, 18, 19.

    Struensee, Dr. John Frederick, the physician of Altona, 130;
      his visit to the Galerie des Cerfs, 178;
      biographical notices of, 200;
      origin of his family, _ib._, _note_;
      his person and character, _ib._;
      his growing influence with the king, 209;
      his appointment as state councillor, 211;
      his first introduction to Caroline Matilda, 215;
      his acquaintance with Frau von Gabel, 216;
      his intimacy with, and influence over, Caroline Matilda, 219, 221;
      gains the confidence of the king, 220;
      insulted by Filosofow, the Russian diplomatist, 221;
      conciliates the royal pair, 223;
      his constant access to the queen, 225;
      her familiarities with him create suspicion, 226, 227;
      his great influence over her, 232;
      his proposed reforms, 233, 234, 241;
      his first decree, 259;
      dissatisfaction with, 263;
      his proposed reforms, 271, 272;
      his maxims, 276;
      his plan for driving the nobles from Copenhagen, 276, _note_;
      reorganises the council of state, 279 _et seq._;
      his wise measures in providing against the effects of a bad
        harvest, 294;
      continues his reform, and establishes a foundling hospital, 295, 296;
      privy council suppressed by, 305;
      his almost absolute power, 306;
      his reforms, 311 _et seq._;
      establishes a public lottery, 313;
      his administrative changes and reforms, 318 _et seq._;
      his further reforms and ameliorations in every department of the
        state, 324 _et seq._;
      his sudden alarm and resignation of office, 337;
      his desire to maintain the independence of Denmark, 338;
      his absolute power and extravagance, 347;
      appointed privy cabinet minister, 348;
      made a Danish count, 352;
      his coat of arms, 353;
      his progress in reforms, 355;
      his management of foreign affairs, 357;
      growing dissatisfaction with, 358 _et seq._;
      intrigues against, 362, 363;
      public dislike to, 370.

    Struensee, Charles Augustus, of the college of finances, brother of
        the secretary, 331.

    Struensee, Justiz-rath, his influential position, 356.

    Superstition in France, _temp._ Louis XV., 173.

    Sweden, princes of, visit Copenhagen and Paris, 295.


    Talbot, lady, beauty of, 140, 152.

    Theatre Royal, royal quarrel at the, 293, 294.

    Theatricals, introduced into the Danish court, 90.

    Thott, count von, the Danish Minister, 188;
      his high character, 189;
      his dismissal, 307;
      joins the newly formed ministry in 1772, 307, _note_.


    Vices of the eighteenth century, 9 _et seq._

    Villeroy, Magdaleine de, Duchesse de Boufflers, libertinism of, 171.

    Voltaire sings the praises of Christian VII., 131.


    Waldegrave, lord, 30.

    Wales, Augusta princess of, 1;
      state of society at the time of her husband's death, 13;
      her family, _ib. et note_;
      her income, 14;
      delivered of a princess, Caroline Matilda, 15;
      libels on, _ib._;
      Melcombe's anecdotes of, 16 _et seq._;
      her encouragement of native industry, 26;
      anecdote of, 26, 27;
      her unbounded sway over the king, 31;
      her departure for the continent, 246;
      her meeting with the King and Queen of Denmark, 248;
      coldness between her and her daughter, _ib._;
      her return to England, 249.

    Wales, Frederick prince of, his death, 1;
      his character, 2;
      retrospect of his life, 2 _et seq._;
      his reply to the city addresses on the birth of his son, 2;
      to whom his bad qualities were attributable, 5;
      his visit to Pope, _ib._;
      his extravagance, _ib._;
      satirical epitaph on, 6;
      influenced by the manners of the age, 7;
      state of society at the time
    of his death, 7-13;
      his widow and family, 13 _et note_;
      Walpole's account of, 26 _et seq._;
      court intrigues in his family, 29. (See GEORGE, PRINCE of).

    Walpole, Horace, his biographical sketches and anecdotes, 15, 16, 19;
      his account of Frederick prince of Wales, 26 _et seq._;
      his satirical sketches of King Christian's visit to London, 137
        _et seq._;
      his character of the king, 157.

    Warnstedt, chamberlain von, 211, 227, 230;
      his treatment at Petersburg, 298;
      his dismissal, 318;
      Sir R. M. Keith's notices of, _ib. note_.

    Wasmer, von, dismissed, 318.

    Wegener, lieutenant-colonel von, made intendant of the court, 317.

    Weilburg, princess of, 47.

    Wessel, Peter, appointed assessor of the new court at Copenhagen, 327.

    Whitehead, Mr., the poet-laureat, 48.

    William III. governed by his men, 4, _note_.

    Wolfenbüttel, Princess Juliana Maria of, married to Frederick V. King
        of Denmark, 53;
      marriage of her sisters to Frederick, and Prince Augustus William,
        of Prussia, _ib._;
      her character, 53, 54;
      suspicions against her, 55, 56.

    Woodford, Mr., British minister in Lower Saxony, 249.

    Worsley, lady, suit against, for divorce, 10, 11;
      her vicious propensities, 11.

    Wraxall, Mr., of Bristol, his letter to his son respecting the queen,


    "Yellow Horse," the, 319, _note_.

    York, duke of, Caroline Matilda's letters to, 94-96;
      his death, 101, 102.


    Zeeland, oppressed state of, 193.



       *       *       *       *       *

    |          Transcriber Notes:                                 |
    |                                                             |
    | P.8.   'Gräfinn' changed to 'Gräfin'.                       |
    | P.154. 'lappel' changed to 'lapel'.                         |
    | P.292. 'someting' changed to 'something'.                   |
    | P.382. 'her warm reception;', duplicate taken out of index. |
    | P.383. 'madnesss' changed to 'madness'.                     |
    | P.390. 'famly' changed to 'family'.                         |
    | Fixed various punctuation.                                  |
    |                                                             |
    | The equals sign is used to surround =bold text=;            |
    |   underscores to surround _italic text_.                    |
    |                                                             |

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